November 01, 2004

Do I seem like a

Do I seem like a Vogue
I didn't think so either. But I am. Reluctantly. The husband has done a
boatload of traveling over the years. On numerous airlines. As such, he
had ten thousand frequent flyer miles on United: an airline we cannot
ever afford to fly unless someone else buys the ticket because
Northworst has Twin Cities International locked up tight. The miles
were to expire in December and we weren't likely to fly United any time
in the near future to keep them active. Nor, as we saw it, was there
any need to keep them active. Along with the expiration letter they
sent us this handy dandy magazine ordering form: x number of
miles=certain magazine subscriptions. The husband opted for Cigar Aficianado. I opted for Conde Nast Traveler and, because there were some miles left over and nothing else I wanted to order, I got Vogue for shits and giggles.

So, I must admit, it's been fun turning the pages of Vogue
these past couple of months, looking at the ads, smelling the perfume
samplers. It's brought my youth back to me. I have to say, however, I'm
finding the celebrity portraits to be a hoot. They're so different
than, say, a Vanity Fair profile. Their reporters actually make
sure to include some reference to fashion and makeup in the profile.
Like I said, a hoot. Until said celebrity says something offensive and
assumes no one will notice because it's published in Vogue, of course, and no one reads Vogue: they only pick it up to look at the pictures.

This month's profile is on Cate Blanchett. And look at the whopper she let slip in her interview.

"I think you only understand Australia from going into the dead heart of the country where you travel for so long, and when you get there, from a white perspective, there's nothing." She's appalled at the recent election {Australian}result: "The terrible thing that this current government reveals about us is our absolute deep racism. There's a very, very dark side to it that I possibly understand a little better having been away from it. I don't think Australia can ever be tamed."
Bitch, please. I know she's a citizen and she has the right to her opinion---yadda, yadda, yadda--- but just once could we have an actor who doesn't get to spout their various uneducated opinions in print? Could we have an editor who says, "No, don't you dare print that political crap! We're not a political magazine. We're Vogue for chrissakes! We write about couture! We write about makeup! We write about shoes! We do not write about politics! Would that be possible? Never mind that Cate's claim of racism lacks specificity. It's not really all that important because we have big brains to work out the problem! Hmmmm. I wonder what she could possibly be talking about. Hmmmm. Any ideas, kids? Oh, I know. Of course {insert slap to the forehead here} She's talking about fighting terrorism, isn't she? I'm assuming that's what she's talking about. Ya think? I haven't heard of any big upcoming Aussie government programs to spear and fry all the Aborigines for dinner because they have a different skin color, so that couldn't be be what she's talking about. It has to be terrorism. Or maybe you think, like I do, that perhaps when she's leveling a charge of racism that perhaps she should temper her words and make her allegations of racism specific? Just so that there's no confusion as to what, precisely, she finds racist. From her statement why, by golly, it seems as if she finds not only John Howard to be a big fat racist, but anyone who might have voted for him as well. She slaps the tar on with a big brush, does Cate. And, of course, she's the only one who understands that because she's been away from it for a while. She's in the movies. I hear that there's a lot of travel required with that job. I suppose she could just shut the hell up, but she's a celebrity and we all know that celebrities are people, too. {insert crocodile tear here}
Posted by Kathy at 11:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

At his birthday party on

At his birthday party on Saturday, the nephew was besieged by his
friends while he was opening presents. Seriously. The scrum of
seven-year-olds surrounding the nephew and---more importantly---the
loot was as tight as Scrooge McDuck's hold on his wallet. In this midst
of all this wrangling, because there was a lot of wrangling going on,
some kid shouts out...
"John Kerry is a big noogie."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Posted by Kathy at 11:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

In the past couple of

In the past couple of weeks, I've been fortunate enough to receive some
permanent linkage from some very nice bloggers! (Woohoo!) In the spirit
of sharing the lurve, I would ask you to go and visit Darn Floor, Ilyka Damen , everyone's favorite Commie Pinko at the Politburo Diktat, Adrianne at Listen, My Children, Naked Villainy and fellow People's Republic of Minnesota blogger, Gary Matthew Miller at Dayton v. Kennedy.
All of them are wonderful, well-written, have keen insights and are
entertaining. Go and visit them and repay them for showing their
phenomenal good taste in bestowing permalinks upon my unworthy blog.

Posted by Kathy at 11:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Interesting. CLAMART, France - Yasser


CLAMART, France - Yasser Arafat's wife said her husband is
"all right" and lashed out at his top lieutenants Monday, accusing them
of traveling to Paris with plans to "bury" him "alive." In a screaming
telephone call from Arafat's hospital bedside, Suha Arafat told
pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television that she was issuing "an appeal to the
Palestinian people." She accused his top aides, who are traveling to
Paris later Monday, of conspiring to usurp her husband's four-decade
long role as Palestinian leader. "Let it be known to the honest
Palestinian people that a bunch of those who want to inherit are coming
to Paris," she shouted in Arabic, in her first public comments since
Arafat fell ill a month ago. "You have to realize the size of the
conspiracy. I tell you they are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive," she
said, using Arafat's nom de guerre. He is all right and he is going
home. God is great."

So, Yassir married a nutjob. {Gomer Pyle Voice}Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!{/Gomer
Pyle Voice}
One wonders what kind of a state Jackie Kennedy would have thrown
America into had she denied that her husband's brains had landed in her
Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by Kathy at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Where the hell is Martini

Where the hell is Martini Boy?

I'm beginning to get worried.

Posted by Kathy at 11:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sooooo... Let's recap what you've

Let's recap what you've achieved so far:
1. You have successfully estimated the size, ascertained how much
people will eat, have purchased and hauled home a turkey from the
grocery store, no doubt braving the wilds of the grocery store parking
lot. This was probably a wee bit hairy, but you nonetheless survived.
Good on you.
2. You have have let your bird sit in the sink overnight to defrost. If
you are a paranoid weenie, you did this in your refrigerator and your
bird is probably still cold. I don't want to hear it.
3. You have prepared your stuffing and have successfully navigated the
caverns left within your bird by some very nice disembowler/decaptiator
at the turkey processing plant. Thank them. They just made your life
easier. 4. You have decided how long your turkey needs to cook for. Go here and use the handy dandy turkey cooking calculator.
There should also have been a little schedule on the bag your turkey
came in. Either way, you can figure out what time you need to put the
bird in the oven so it will be ready when you want to eat. For
instance, according to the calculator, if I was cooking a frozen, defrosted and stuffed ten pounder and wanted to eat it at 5:00 on
Thanksgiving Day, it calculates that I would need to put it in the oven
at 350 degrees, at 1:10, removing it at 4:30, because good ol' Tom
Turkey needs some time to rest before you carve it. The bigger the
bird, the longer it will take to cook. Obviously. It's important to
mention that you---ahem---should stuff and truss the bird right before
you cook it. Don't do this hours in advance. That
would be asking for food poisoning. Ya got it? And now it's time to
stuff your bird!
You might be wondering why, someone, at some point in time, came up
with the absolutely unhygienic idea of stuffing a bird with spiced
bread crumbs. Well, that would be a good question, and the answer
is...I haven't the foggiest idea of why they started doing that. I
would suspect that it's because if you put something in the bird's
cavities, your bird will cook more evenly and will keep your bird from
drying out. I would also suspect that stuffing---or what the hoi polloi
call dressing---became a tasty side dish only because when they cooked
over campfires they didn't exactly have other receptacles to cook the
stuff in. Maybe it's because when you cook something inside the bird,
it transfers some of its goodness into the flavor of the meat (and some
of the flavor of the meat onto the stuffing...mmmm). Honestly, I don't
know why our ancestors started stuffing the cavities of the birds they
killed with stuff. Don't have a clue. For whatever reason, we have
stuffing, and if you haven't been scared silly of salmonella poisoning
by those ever conscientious weenies at the FDA, you too will follow the
ancient tradition set forth and will stuff your bird with good stuff.
After all, if you die, you'll die happy. First off, line your turkey up
on your work space with its tits up. Bring your bowl of stuffing over
to the counter and open up that piece of flesh at the neck and start
putting the stuffing into this little space. It shouldn't take too
long, because after all, it's a pretty small space. Now, here's a tip
you need to adhere to: DON'T OVERPACK YOUR CAVITIES
That phrase should have been so unnerving when you read it that you'll
actually do what I say and won't ask any questions. It's bad. If you
would like, throw a clove of garlic into the stuffing, for added
flavor. By now you'll have explored all of the extra packets that came
with the turkey. If you're lucky, they'll have included a small metal
skewers, about as long as a medium-sized nail. If not, they have them
at the grocery store. Run, Forrest! Run!
Or, as a last resort, find some toothpicks for the next task, which
will be piercing that flap of skin and covering the neck area with it
and securing it with the skewer or toothpick so that the neck cavity is
covered and your stuffing will neither fall out and die a horrible
death at the bottom of your pan, or dry out. This, I have found, can be
a slippery and somewhat nasty task. Honestly, I'd prefer sticking my
hands into the turkey's main cavity and fishing out the giblet package
rather than doing this. But it's relatively easy to achieve.
Once that is done, it's time to work on the main cavity. Woooo. You're
excited aren't you? I can feel it all the way over here. I'm shivering
along with you. Anyhoo, now is the time you will need one half of your
cored granny smith apple. Place the half all the way in the back of the
cavity. Now is a good time to run your fingers around again to make
sure you haven't missed any packages that might have slipped past you
earlier. Don't worry. I'll wait.
You're back? Ok, good. Now, you're probably wondering why I had you add
the apple to the stuffing. Well, again, it's a flavor thing. This
imparts a nice, light, crisp apple flavor to the turkey. Trust me,
you'll like it. Plus, it'll help keep your bird from drying out. As you
might have noticed, I'm all about moist turkey. MMMMMMMM. Good stuff.
Now that you've moved up from beginner to amateur in the stuffing of
the turkey department, you'll have a good idea of how to proceed
stuffing the main cavity. Same deal here. Throw in a few cloves of
garlic while you're at it if you're so inclined. Keeping in mind my
instructions about NOT OVERPACKING THE STUFFING, sometime in the very
near future you will actually come to the end of the cavity. When you
reach this point, you can decide if you're going to throw in the second
half of the apple or if you're going to start snacking prematurely.
It's up to you. If you bought a big bird, well, throw that bad boy in
there and cover it up with the last of the stuffing. If your bird is
smaller, you may not have room for the apple. You are at the helm of
the Starship Turkey: it's your bird, take it on the journey you want it
to travel.
So, now you're more than halfway there. Congratulate yourself, my
turkey newbie! Now, go and wash your hands. GO! I know where your hands
have been and I demand that you wash them before you touch anything
else. Get Auntie Edna to turn on the faucet for you if you must. BUT
This, my friends, is why I told you to keep the big bottle of hand soap
at the ready. I feel better now. Moving right along, we've come to the
easy part of all this: the outside.
First, take your salt and pepper and liberally shake them along the
entire turkey's skin. You need to do this not only on the top half, but
along the underside as well. Pretty easy stuff. Always, always, always
season your meat---any meat---with salt and pepper. Even if it's a
lowly hamburger. It adds a lot of flavor, even if you don't add a lot
of salt and pepper. Second, wash your hands again. You have once again
touched the turkey. Your hands are dirty and anything you touch in the
meanwhile will have turkey cooties transferred onto it. Aunt Edna has
been begging for something to do: let her turn the faucet on for you.
Third, take your bottle of vegetable oil and get a big handful. You are
now about to embark on the step my mother refers to as "putting on the
suntan lotion." Because that's exactly what you're doing. You will
liberally slather the oil over the entire skin of the bird. You will do
this in lavish style, in a veritable Restoration-like manner, with the
spirit of Charles II and his many mistresses overlooking your shoulder,
covering all the cracks and crevices heretofore unnoticed. Make Chuck
proud: he didn't retake the throne of England from Cromwell and his
cronies so you could eat like a Puritan. This acts as suntan lotion: it
will keep your turkey from frying up, will keep the skin moist, and
moreover will provide a nice crispiness when everything is said and
done. Fourth, go and wash your hands again. Auntie Edna needs something
to do and your hands are oily. Fifth, it's time for the string. Go here
and watch this video and read the instructions.
I can't describe how to do it better than the video shows you.
Sixth, transfer that bird to the pan. If you have a rack, great. Rest
it on the rack, tits up. If not, rest it in the center of the pan
you're using. Seventh, prepare a tent for the turkey out of tinfoil.
Mom calls this "a hat" so, as your turkey is obviously
conspiracy minded, you get to construct a tinfoil chapeau to protect it
from all that radiation, whilst simultaneously roasting it to a fine
golden hue. Good passive-agressive fun, no? Never mind if your turkey
is a moonbat or a freeper: you're going to knock some sense into it
during the roasting process. Aren't you happy? I know I am. Seriously
though, measure out enough foil to cover the entire top of the turkey,
then cut it off. I find the foil actually stays put if I put "borders"
on the edges, by folding each edge over about an inch. The weight of
the borders holds the foil in place, so it's less likely to float off
the bird when you stick it in the oven. Place the foil on top of the
breasts, the purpose of this exercise being two-fold: to ensure the
white boob meat doesn't dry out and that the turkey skin doesn't get
too crispy during the hours your bird will be in the oven. And that, my
turkey newbies, is how to prepare a bird for Thanksgiving Dinner.
In our next installment of As The Bird Turns: "Stop opening the oven and let the bird cook, freak!"

Posted by Kathy at 11:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, so I hinted last

Ok, so I hinted last week that my birthday was coming up. Well,
thankfully, it has passed and I finally feel able to post without
breaking into a long whine about how I'm going to start buying Oil of
Olay in bulk. The urge has passed, and I'm sure you're all thankful
that I willfully restrained myself. Consider it my birthday gift to
you, my devoted Cake Eater readers.
Although, I'm sure no one is surprised that I am, indeed, a Scorpio.
Anyway, the big day was on Friday and, to be quite honest about it,
I've forgotten how many times I've turned 29: it's still in single
digits, but it's getting up there. Sigh. The husband and I kept it
pretty low key: we went out for dinner and a movie, which was really
quite the treat. Living in entreprenurial hell does not give one the
budget to go to dinner and a show very often. In fact, what used to be
our Friday night routine a while back hasn't happened since last
spring. A change of pace was served up, however, and we had a good
time. We went to go and see Team America: World Police. It can be summed up in one word: hysterical. Fuck Yeah! Obviously, it's not for everyone, but if you're a South Park lover, then this movie is for you. I miss you like Ben Affleck needs acting lessons. I miss you as much as Pearl Harbor sucked...
I'll leave you with two words that will intrigue you, but won't spoil
it for you if you haven't seen it:
"Matt Damon."
Next it was off to PF Chang's for a quick (and reasonably priced!)
supper. I always have the Crispy Honey Chicken, because I love it. PF
Chang's may not be the fanciest restaurant in town and it's at the
mall, of course, but since we don't have a car, well, our choices are
limited to either the neighborhood, the mall, uptown or downtown. I'm
tired of the neighborhood. We can't afford anything downtown, and Chino
Latino, one of my all time favorite restaurants in uptown (Lileks
needs to lighten up about the advertising and go have some Hot Monkey
Love---a deep fried snickers bar with vanilla ice cream and chocolate
sauce. Advertising complaints can land you in bed with some odd fellows)was
off the menu as well, since it costs a fortune to eat there. So, it was
either PF Changs or The Cheesecake Factory, which of course, had an
hour and half wait. Forget that. PF's it was, and I have no issues with
that: the food is good, the wine glasses there give you a half a bottle
to slurp at a shot, and I can smoke in the bar. What's not to love?
When we got home, the Doctor and ML had called and wanted to throw me a
party the next night. Woohoo! Always a good time, so we made plans to
head over there for dinner after we attended the nephew's 7th birthday
party across town. His birthday is the day after mine, and so we
moseyed over to Eagan to partake of flag football (which was a monster
hit with the eight, seven-year-old boys in attendance)and a cake with a
batmobile on it. Jealous was I, until we got over to ML's and the
Doctor's. The Doctor had a lamb roasting. Baaaaaaaa. There were
potatoes roasted in rosemary and butter. Fresh green beans. Wine, and
of course...cake! It was a lovely night with friends and I had a great
time. And, of course, there were presents.
I don't quite know where everyone got the impression that I would love
Barnes and Noble gift cards, but I have to say, I'm pretty damn happy
that they did! Hot damn! The sister-in-law gave me one, Mr. H. gave me
one and ML and the Doc gave me one as well, which leads in to what I
did today...
...which was to go and blow the whole lot at Barnes and Noble! Tee hee.
That was fun. I love buying books. It's such a treat. When I was
growing up, Mom was of the opinion that she wasn't going to blow a load
of money on books for a kid when there was such a fabulous library
system at hand. When I finally got older, and buying books was an
option, there was nothing I loved more than buying a book. I still love
it. It's great. I went hog wild at the store today and bought this, this, this and this.
In short: I've got enough reading to keep me busy until Christmas. So,
there is the tale of my birthday weekend. I may be another year older
(waaaaah!)and I certainly don't know if I'm wiser, but I had a good
time and that's all that really matters, isn't it? It eased the pain.

Posted by Kathy at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, so I don't have

Ok, so I don't have to cook a turkey this year. Since the husband's
parents are in Arizona and mine are still soaking up all the rain
that's falling currently in Texas, we're staying here. Hence we have
Thanksgiving with friends. Now, I highly recommend this option if you
don't like your family. I, however, do like my family, it's just this
way I get to sleep off the resultant tryptophan overdose in my own bed.
Last year, the husband and I hosted our friends. This year, the friends
are hosting, so instead of cleaning the Cake Eater Pad from top to
bottom, ironing napkins and tablecloths, shopping, polishing the silver
and then
cooking a feast, I'm just making my fabu sweet potato recipe and a
salad. And that's it. We'll head over to ML's and the Doctor's on
Thursday afternoon and we'll eat. It will be good. Even though I'm off
the hook this year, for some strange reason, I feel I should be doing
more. I'm probably going to make a pumpkin pie sometime this week
because the husband and I like it and we'll want our own. I might even
cook up some cranberry dressing to go with the turkey that will be sent
home with us. (They've got a 20 pounder!) While I'll probably only wind
up making the pie (mmmmm...pie),
I still feel like I should be doing more. So, instead of actually
cooking a turkey, I'm going to give you instructions on how to cook
one. Because, amazingly enough, I'm told some people don't know how to
do this. It's way back in my memory, but I vaguely remember a time when
I didn't know how to either. Fifteen years ago, when I was a freshman
in college, my family was having a very busy November. We'd all gone to
Austin for Tim and Darlene's wedding at
the beginning of the month. Then my sister Susie who, at the time,
lived in Dallas, gave birth to her second son, Denver. Mom, of course,
flew off to Dallas to help and it fell to me and my sister, Christi, to
cook Thanksgiving dinner for the family. When we were presented with
this task, Mom told us there wasn't an easier dinner to cook than
Thanksgiving. "It just takes a lot of time. It's not hard at all," is
what she said. Her assertions notwithstanding, we were still skeptical
and told her that we needed line by line instruction. She agreed. And
being true to her word, Mom wrote out everything we needed to know.
Pages and pages worth of everything my mother did at Thanksgiving but
you might have been afraid to ask. Which, when we were done, I stupidly
threw out. I say this was stupid because they could have come in handy
later on. Like after I got married and found myself cooking
Thanksgiving dinner. If only I'd kept that stack of legal paper, I
wouldn't have found myself calling Mom all the damn time. Alas, I
eventually figured it out. And she's right: Thanksgiving dinner is
an easy meal to cook; it's just time consuming. So, for the rest of the
week, I will become your very own Butterball hotline, only without the
1-800 number. You'll basically be getting everything Mom taught me
about how to cook a bird. An excellent idea for a Thanksgiving present,
no? Well, it should be until she reads this and then calls me to tell
me I've got something wrong.
Work up your courage, kids. It's really not all that hard. First things
first: go and purchase a turkey at the grocery store. Do not feel the
need to get a turkey with a pop-up button. You don't need it. I'll
explain my reasoning for this later on, but mostly, it's because I
think people get suckered into spending more per pound for the
Butterball, thinking they need the pop-up button when they don't. Now,
the biggest turkey we've ever cooked was the fourteen pounder we had
last year. That was a big bird. My general rule of thumb when
purchasing a turkey is to---ahem---always go for the smaller bird
you're contemplating purchasing.. The more experienced turkey shopper
will know what I'm talking about: you will see one bird, it's probably
just about the right size and you're just about ready to buy it, but
then you get to thinking. You think about all the people you've got
coming over and how they're going to be starving themselves all day
long and will be ready to gorge themselves, like a lion gorges itself
on raw antelope, and then you start to doubt yourself. You think you
might actually need the fifteen pounder instead. THIS IS A MISTAKE.
Do not do this. Always opt for the smaller bird. It will save you weeks
of eating leftover turkey sandwiches. And even if it does turn out to
be too little, well, think of it this way: your relatives won't be
sleeping dinner off on your sofa; they will actually have the energy to
leave and your liquor cabinet will still have something in it. My
general rule of thumb for picking out a turkey? Well, it depends upon
how many people I've got coming over. Last year we completely overdid
it: a fourteen pound turkey for six people. I broke my own rule and as
a result, we were swimming in turkey, even after we gave a lot away.
Think about how much turkey you actually eat when you're at the table
on Thanksgiving Day: I eat about half a cup's worth, total, because
there's so much other stuff to eat as well as turkey. But I eat a lot
less turkey than other people. In general, I find that about a pound
and a half per person is a good rule of thumb to go by. You might be
like me and eat less; you might have some guests that will eat more. It
all evens out. This option leaves you with some leftovers, but not so
much that you won't want to see another turkey until next Thanksgiving.
As far as price per pound, well, most turkeys are alike, it's the
extras---like the popup button and the gravy packet---that cost more.
Do you need this? Well, it's up to you, but I never have. I go for the
cheapo turkey: I never buy the Butterball unless it's on sale. Does
this mean that I buy the turkey that costs $0.29 a pound? Nope. While
cheap, I still have my standards. My price range lies between $0.39 to
$0.59 a pound, but then again I live in the Midwest, where food is
cheap. Prices might be different where you live, so go for the midrange
and you'll be fine. Now, you're asking yourself, how do I make sure I get a good
turkey? Is there a special way---like when I idotically thump on a
melon in the middle of the produce aisle and block everyone's passage
by leaving my cart in the middle of the aisle---that I can use to make
sure my turkey will turn out juicy?
Well, ah, no. It's pretty much
luck of the draw. After all, it's a massive frozen bird wrapped up in
plastic and netting. How could you know? The only person who's got a
chance is Karnak, but he's retired. Fortunately for you, however,
there's not a really big difference from brand to brand on turkeys.
They're all pretty much the same. Just go for it. Tomorrow: Prepping
the Bird!

Posted by Kathy at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But that little commie pinko

But that little commie pinko forgot to place Cake Eater Land on his crummy little map.

And he has the gall to offer the helpful hint that if we suck up to him, we can then get on the damn map.

Well, baby, I ain't sitting on the Commisar's casting couch for love nor money.

The couch is probably infested with roaches, too.

Posted by Kathy at 11:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I thought Mike McCurry was

I thought Mike McCurry was dead. I thought he'd keeled over from some
massive Bubba-induced heartattack.
Yet, somehow, he's materialized on CNN. Hmmph.
Honestly. I thought he was dead. I'm not joking.

Posted by Kathy at 10:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hey, guess what? The humanitarian

Hey, guess what? The humanitarian crisis in Darfur is still going
on...and it seems the Sudanese government took advantage of the
attention hogging US Election. Refugees were moved out by the Sudanese Army in the middle of the night.
Taking advantage of the fact they'd ejected relief workers from the
region, they mobilized the people and have taken them to another camp.

WASHINGTON - The State Department urged the Sudanese
government Wednesday to arrange for the return of thousands of people
in Darfur who were forcibly removed from a camp where they had taken
refuge. Spokesman Richard Boucher said the post-midnight removal of the
Sudanese violated United Nations principles governing displaced persons
and U.N. Security Council resolutions on Sudan. Boucher also issued an
appeal for the withdrawal of Sudanese forces surrounding some camps for
the displaced in Darfur, and for the Sudanese government to let
humanitarian workers return to the region. "We stand with the
international community in holding the government of Sudan responsible
for the violations, and we request immediate return of all displaced
persons back to the camp at El Geer where they were moved from,"
Boucher said.

Of course, the UN has its knickers in a twist because the Sudanese
officials told the refugees that they were just following the UN's
orders. Because we all know that the UN would never allow for such a
thing, but also because its making them look bad with the refugees.
Furthermore, the Boucher claims they have evidence of the mobilization
of Janjaweed militias. Great. Seems now that the international pressure
has decreased---and the rainy season is over with---they're getting
ready to rape and pillage some more!
Then in another story, we have our ever-faithful UN Secretary General talking about there being enough evidence to prosecute for war crimes.

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday there are strong indications of war crimes "on a large and systematic scale" in Sudan's Darfur region, where the violence has now affected 2 million people. In a report to the U.N. Security Council, he said the Sudanese government has failed to bring the perpetrators of widespread killings, rapes, looting and village burnings to justice. Jan Pronk, the top U.N. envoy to Sudan who wrote the report, will present it to the council on Thursday. He will recommend that members take "prompt action" to get the government and rebels to comply with U.N. resolutions demanding an end to the violence, disarmament of combatants, and punishment of those responsible. Until the government starts taking more than "pinprick" action against the perpetrators, the report warned, no displaced person will dare return home and no group will agree to disarm. "Without an end to impunity ... banditry goes from strength to strength, menacing the population and obstructing the delivery of aid to desperate people in isolated areas," it said.

Notice the word choices. Banditry. Menacing the population. Obstructing the delivery of aid. The friggin' AP was more honest in its descriptors when it used killings, rapings and looting. Menacing
the population? Christ. It sounds like they're masked high school
students egging and tp'ing houses, rather than burning them down after
raping, terrorizing and then murdering the occupants.
Also, notice that there's one word Kofi simply refuses to use whilst threatening war crimes trials. Do you know what that word is, boys and girls? Why, it's Genocide.
Can you say it with me? I believe I mentioned earlier in the year that
Bashir might throw a bone or two to the UN and the aid agencies, and it
looks like all the bones have been thrown and he's getting back to the
business of ethnically cleansing Darfur. His experience keeping the
international community out of the civil war in the south, it seems,
has served him well.
The Queen has a better chance at being named the next James Bond than
the UN has in putting Bashir and his cronies, let alone any of the
Janjaweed, in the dock.

Posted by Kathy at 10:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, so Bush is suffering

Ok, so Bush is suffering a setback here in Minnesota.
As of 10:34p.m. CST
Kerry: 682,804 54% Bush: 565, 759 44%
Not good. Except when you look at the county roster.
The metro area is made up of seven counties: Hennepin (Minneapolis),
Ramsey (St. Paul), Dakota (south burbs), Washington (east of St. Paul),
Anoka (north burbs), Carver and Scott (southwest burbs). It's looking
to me like the majority of this vote that's in is coming from the metro
area---a majority liberal metro area. Except for the Iron Range up
north by Duluth, the rest of the state trends right. The percentages
seem to be staying even, even as the vote totals go up. much
of that is still metro area votes? Hmmmm.
I present idle speculation, you decide.

Posted by Kathy at 10:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rolling Stone has published a

Rolling Stone has published a list of the Top 500 Greatest Rock and Roll Songs.

I am hereby rejecting this list because there is not one goddamn song from the Beatles' White Album in the top fifty.

This entire list is a fraudulent self-serving and corrupt. Halliburtonesque kickbacks to be investigated by Congress shortly.

Screw 'em.

Oh, of course Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone is the number one greatest rock
song---as if that qualifies as rock. Next thing you'll be telling me
that Mahler is easy listening---yet, we're supposed to believe this
thing wasn't rigged when Jakob Dylan was on the panel?
Puhleeeze. JannWennerLied/TheMusicDied!

Posted by Kathy at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four out of five dentists

Four out of five dentists agree: the UN isn't doing the deal in Darfur.
Surprisingly, even the UN agrees with that assessment. Those dentists are onto something!

GENEVA - The United Nations is failing to protect millions of people displaced by conflict in Sudan's Darfur region and violence in other hotspots around the world, a U.N. report said Friday. The world body's approach to the problem of people who have fled their homes but not crossed any international borders "is still largely ad hoc and driven more by the personalities and convictions of individuals on the ground than by an institutional, systemwide agenda," the report said. {...}Three different U.N. agencies have staff in Darfur, but their access to the displaced and their activity there have frequently been limited because Sudan's government has at times been reluctant to allow outside involvement, McNamara said. The Sudanese government is allowing the United Nations access to camps in Darfur, but U.N. activity is still limited by a lack of staff and funding. That shortage means the world body has been unable to provide AIDS tests and psychological counseling for rape victims in Darfur's camps, which McNamara called unacceptable
. Why, those pesky UN officials are just like cavities! People starve in one country (Iraq) because of the UN's internal graft protection system and they're investigating the matter! People are dying, being forced to flee from their homes, and enough raping and pillaging is going on in Darfur to make a Centurion proud, and they're issuing a report about how they're not doing so good of a job. Wow. I'm impressed, aren't you? It's as if the plaque in the veritable mouth of the UN just stood up and screamed to be removed. I'm all for whipping out the drill and having at it.
Posted by Kathy at 10:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Most definitely gets the oil.

Most definitely gets the oil.

I don't even mind the "surrender monkeys" business.

I'm cheap that way.

Posted by Kathy at 10:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, let's try this again

Ok, let's try this again and see if it takes twenty minutes to post.

Posted by Kathy at 10:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Start watching this on Tuesday

Start watching this on Tuesday nights.

Good stuff, Maynard.

Posted by Kathy at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Surprisingly, the crack young staff

Surprisingly, the crack young staff at The Hatemonger's Quarterly is on the receiving end of the Bush Administration's leaky sieve.


Go and read, my dear lefty friends, and feel better. It seems anal probes really are just around the corner!

Posted by Kathy at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apparently they're not going to

Apparently they're not going to pull the plug on Arafat because Islam forbids it.

The astonishing irony of that
clause being invoked on the leader of the former PLO aside, What I'm
wondering about are the afterlife ramifications. For the average
sixteen-year-old Palestinian kid who's had the bad judgment to listen
to Hamas and has gone and blown themselves up at an Israeli checkpoint,
72 virgins are reportedly awaiting them in heaven.
What does Yassir, with all of his terrorist props but no martyrdom
credit to his name, have to look forward to when he finally dies? In
the seraglio that is heaven for Muslim men, is he going to be a rung
above the martyrs or one below? Does he get the martyrs' leftovers? Or
is there a whole flock of virgins just waiting
for Yassir to get up there? Or since he never blew himself up for Allah
mean he's not going to get screwed when he goes to heaven? One can
hope, but I'm sure there's some sort of provision the Imams are working
out for the randy old coot. Hmmmph.
Yet another example, my devoted Cake Eater readers, of what it's like
to be inside my head.

Posted by Kathy at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rich finally got off his

Rich finally got off his ass and posted.

This poem is
particularly good.
New York hasn't been all that good for Rich's blogging, I must say. But
I'll betcha anything that once it starts snowing, he'll start posting
like a mo'fo.

Posted by Kathy at 09:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If you're going to blow

If you're going to blow $28,000 on a frickin' grilled cheese sandwich, might I suggest that you're a fucking moron?

Give me the money, you self-adulating asshat. I'll spend it better than you ever could.

Needless Markup needs me to spend money there. They're going to go broke if I don't buy some Manolos toute suite.
Seriously. I could have all those shoes and I'd still have money
leftover. What have you got in return for spending $28K? You got a goddamned grilled cheese sandwich.

If you've got that much money, perhaps you can buy yourself a clue. Until then, just give it to me to fund my shoe whoredom.

Posted by Kathy at 09:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've often said that JFK

I've often said that JFK wussed out when he refused to supply air
support during the attempted invasion of Cuba called The Bay of Pigs.
I've always called it "JFK's cut and run episode." Amazingly enough,
for the staunch war hero he advertised himself to be, he was too much
of a wimp to follow through and provide the air cover he had promised.
I've always wondered what would Cuba be like today had the invasion
succeeded. Air support wouldn't have made it a slam dunk, but it would
have at least given the troops on the ground a fighting chance. No one
can storm a beachhead loaded with enemy fixed position machine guns and
artillery if they don't have air support. It's a physical
impossibility. Kennedy, veteran of the Pacific in WWII, most assuredly
knew this, and yet he still backed away. I've also wondered how many
Cubans and Cuban-Americans revile the president most Americans consider
to be the penultimate because of his gutlessness. Well, as it turns
out, I was wrong. There was air support. Not any that JFK sent, of
course, but there was American air support, nonetheless. One brave
pilot picked up his Commander in Chief's slack, did what he thought was
right and died for his efforts. Now, forty-three years after her
father's death, because America is what it is, his daughter is taking
Fidel Castro to court. Amazing. Go read more at the Babalu Blog.

{hat tip: INDC Journal}

Posted by Kathy at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, now that the head

So, now that the head Devil is leaving the Justice Department, and a departmental shakeup always occurs after such an event, I'm wondering if Robert's
going to be heading up the "Black Mass" section, or if he's going to be
in charge of carving '666' into the foreheads of unsuspecting newborns.
Because, you know, he's really qualified for either job. To my mind, it's a complete and utter toss-up. I wonder what kind of pay increase is included?

Posted by Kathy at 09:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Douglas aka The Last of

Douglas aka The Last of the Famous International Playboys has a
fantastic roundup of links regarding the hellish behavior that's
erupted in Ivory Coast over the past couple of days. Go and read.

Posted by Kathy at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Numbers according to the local

Numbers according to the local ABC affiliate here in Minnesota:
Kerry: 37,351 50%
Bush: 36,002 48%
And that's with one percent reporting.
Just saw a little bit on the local Fox affiliate: the exit polls were
calling it 53% for Kerry, 46 for Bush, and 1% for Nader. The husband
just said that he's tracking the numbers; he doesn't believe the exit
polls as they're just not jiving with the actual voting numbers.

Posted by Kathy at 08:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...Little Stanzel yet on any

...Little Stanzel yet on any of the networks that we've been flipping through.

Although, we're sticking with cable this evening, for the most part.

If you've seen him, let me know.

Posted by Kathy at 07:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This is why I love

This is why I love the internet!

Click here for the raw vote count for Florida and here for the same from Ohio.

(Hat tip: Martini Boy)

Posted by Kathy at 07:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So as I fire up

So as I fire up a Marlboro Ultra Light 100, take a sip of my Sapphire
and Tonic (lime on the bottom) and wait for the frozen pizza to cook, I
shall list out my trusted sources for information this Election Eve:
Martini Boy, Instapundit and the Llamas.
These three will give you all the information you can possibly handle
and will be doing link dumps like you wouldn't believe. I've got the
wi-fi fired up and will be commenting as I see fit. My thoughts right
now? Well, it's obviously too early to call, but my gut tells me Bush
is going to get anywhere from 286-300. And I don't want him to get more
than that because the more he gets, the more incredulous the Democrats
will get. And where does that stick us?
Right back in legal limbo. And that is something that I could not
possibly stand.
Interesting observation of the evening (so far): the convicted felon in
my household is bouncing off the goddamn walls. As of right now, he's
honestly more into this than I am, and that's saying quite a bit. I'm
assuming his interest will wane as the night rolls on, but hey,
apparently being deprived of your civil right to vote makes this
election all the more interesting.

Posted by Kathy at 06:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When I cook, I like

When I cook, I like to have some media on in the kitchen. It breaks up
the monotony and keeps me from fantasizing about how I'd hire a
cleaning lady if I won the lottery. Less misery all around this way,
let me tell you. Today, while I was whipping up some enchiladas,
instead of watching Brit and his pals on my cabinet-mounted LCD TV, I
decided to turn on the long unloved radio.
I came upon the Hugh Hewitt show, said, "Oh, I can finally hear what
everyone's been talking about." Lo and behold, he had Lileks on. As God
is my witness, I never expected Lileks to sound like he did. Not like I
knew what to expect, I just didn't think he'd sound like he does in
reality. To clarify, he has a hot voice. As in he sounded hot.


Don't quite know what to think about this development.

Posted by Kathy at 05:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

{click to make larger}blackouts to

to make larger}blackouts to protect the innocent and my privacy.
This afteroon this flyer was stuffed in the front door of the Cake
Eater Pad. Apparently someone in the neighborhood has their knickers in
a twist over some dead foxes.
And here I didn't even know there were foxes in the
While the Cake Eater Pad faces out onto a fairly busy street, behind
the house is a variety pak of manmade and natural features comprised of
large expensive houses and two marshes that are within spitting
distance. About a mile away is Minnehaha Creek (yes, the same Minnehaha
Creek Lileks is always going on about. It starts out west in Minnetonka
and meanders its way east to around the airport, where it turns into
Minnehaha Falls...if I'm remembering correctly.) Because of these
marshes, we get wildlife. If you were around this summer, perhaps you
remember the tale of the duckies that decided to hatch on the roof of our garage.
So, while I've made it a point to live in the city to keep my dealings
with wildlife to a bare minimum, it appears that this is not the case. Foxes, huh?
And this person wants me to make sure I'm not leaving any pesticides or
poisons outside for them to eat. Well, forgive me for recalling the
laws of nature to this person, but hey, if they don't have the good
sense not to eat poison, well, they deserve to die. I'm sorry, but this
is how animals---human beings included---evolve. It's called survival
of the fittest. Not like I'd deliberately leave poison sitting around
outside the house to kill a fox, but damn...honestly, why should I
care? Sure they might eat the field mice, but they sure haven't been
doing a number on the squirrel population, as we have nothing but wide
arsed and sassy beasts roaming the yard for acorns. If I choose not to
leave pesticides outside it's because there's a small child who lives
in the apartment downstairs. I care about him not being poisoned. I
really don't give a hoot about a fox.
I mean, unless it's for a coat or something like that. Then I'll start setting traps.

Posted by Kathy at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lookie at what someone tried

Lookie at what someone tried to sneak into the 1000+ page bill.

Sneaky bastards.

(Hat tip: Light of the People)

Posted by Kathy at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Editing a sex scene is

Editing a sex scene is a lot like reading instructions on how to
assemble a nuclear device. It's somewhat boring, somewhat naughty, and
somewhat creepy. And, of course, Tab A and Slot B have whole new meanings attached to them.

you'll get more. Maybe you won't. Honestly, the whole editing process
is beyond boring so even I, as an author, don't really want to talk
about it all that much. I just thought y'all might be interested in how
I spent my afternoon.

Posted by Kathy at 05:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Must read for the day:

Must read for the day: Paul Johnson in Forbes as to why we cause ourselves more grief than we need to.

Human beings can be characterized as creatures with a capacity to worry. Anxieties expand automatically to occupy the time and nervous energy we instinctively make available for worry. Yet when we have real, urgent and potentially devastating reasons for anxiety, all lesser and artificial concerns disappear. In Britain during World War II, when the country was in actual danger of being conquered and people were in constant fear of being blown to bits by German bombs, the incidence of psychiatric disorders (as recorded in doctors' offices) fell almost to zero. Cases of suicide or attempted suicide were rare. Buth with the war's end, incidences of both returned to "normal" levels. Politicians and businesses pay too little attention to the human appetite for worrying and our propensity to create artificial anxiety{...}

Go read the whole thing. It's fascinating.

Posted by Kathy at 05:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The caption reads: ...and

The caption reads: ...and
then I said to him, "Walt, you really ought to pay more attention to
Rove. He really is the wizard everyone says he is. Why, I heard that,
out at that studio where they filmed the moon landings---you'd know
something about those, eh, Walt?---they've got a Bin Laden-lookalike
shooting a video right now, so they can release it right before the

Now, I didn't want to have to do this. They backed me into a corner with this and my honor decreed...nay, demanded justice.

I feel better now.

Posted by Kathy at 05:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, you survived purchasing the

So, you survived purchasing the turkey, right? It wasn't that bad, was it?

I told you so.

Anyway, today we will be moving right along to the preliminaries for prepping your bird.

After dinner tomorrow night---which would be Wednesday---make
sure you pull it out of the freezer and put it in the sink to defrost.
It takes some time to shake off all the ice, so just leave it in its
wrappings and let it sit in the sink. Pour yourself an adult beverage
and walk away, righteous in the knowledge that you're getting ready for
Thursday, even if you're going to go and have a bourbon while you watch
The West Wing.
You will be leaving it in the sink all night long to defrost. You could
put it in a roasting pan and put it in the fridge to defrost, but I'm
sure your fridge is already loaded with beer and wine for the upcoming
dinner and you don't have room for a bird in a pan in there. Honestly,
this is easier and contrary to the conventional wisdom of today, you
won't die of salmonella poisoning if you opt for the sink method of
Yet, if you're really paranoid and would prefer the fridge method, know
that you'll want to put your turkey in the fridge on Wednesday morning.
It simply takes longer. I suppose this would be a good time to talk
about stuffing. You assumed you were supposed to buy stuffing, right?
Well, ok, good for you then. I'm glad you picked some up because I
forgot to tell you to do so. I'm liking the fact you're a problem
solver: that makes my job all the easier. Well done, my friend. Well
done, indeed!
I always buy Pepperidge Farm stuffing
because I believe it tastes the best. Plus it's what Mom uses, so it's
got that whole "taste of my youth" thing going for it. If you opt for
this, I would recommend buying the Pepperidge Farm stuffing with the
blue label. It's loose stuffing and I find it works a lot better than
the cubed stuff. More pliable and easily shoved into turkey cavities.
But, if you're diametrically opposed to the notion of loose stuffing,
get the cubed stuff. No big whoop. The Pepperidge Farm stuffing tastes
good; somewhat spicy, but not too much to turn anyone off. If you've
seen a recipe for oyster stuffing somewhere and want to try it out,
well, I'm not your girl. I grew up in Nebraska and have lived in
landlocked states ever since: what the hell would I know about oysters?
Go bug some east coast bloggers for that info. There were some other
things you needed to pick up at the store besides stuffing, like a ball
of string, vegetable oil, a granny-smith apple and a garlic bulb, but
I'm sure you got those as well, so you're really on top of it. Way to
go, my little turkey-newbie. Top marks! Coming up in our next
installment: How to not freak out when you shove your hand inside the

Posted by Kathy at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jonathan gets it absolutely correct

Jonathan gets it absolutely correct about the AFI's list of nominations for best movie quotes:

By quotes, the AFI explains, they mean the greatest "quips, comebacks, and catchphrases." Swell.Why pay homage to great writing when you have catchphrases to exhalt? I'm going to assume that we won't be seeing a beautiful, heart-rending line like "She gets the winter passion, and I get the dotage?" Nah, who needs that when you've got "I'll be back."

Now, I've perused the list. The whole
list. (Never mind why I did it: I did, indeed, have some time to kill
yesterday) You can find the four hundred nominated quotes here
(in PDF format). I have a number of problems with this list, but the
main one is that more than a few of them are comebacks---and they don't
provide the line the comeback is responding to. To put it bluntly (and
crudely): it's a half-assed list. Now while some doozies are nominated
in their entirety (i.e. "Surely you can't be serious. I am serious. And stop calling me Shirley.")
most of them are stand-alones: apparently, you are neither entitled to
context, nor to enjoy more of the brilliant writing which made it a
memorable line in the first place. Sigh. Anyway, Jonathan's trying to
rectify the situation: go over and nominate your best movie line ever.

Here are mine:

When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for their
were no more worlds left to conquer. Benefits of a classical education.
---Die Hard

You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say
anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe
just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put
your lips together and... blow.
--- To Have and Have Not. (this is
one the list, but it's a fave. Forgive me for repeating it) (Moment of
abject admiration for Lauren Bacall. Gawd. To be able to pull off a
Lauren Bacall moment in real life. Wouldn't that be something? Sigh. )
There may be honor among thieves, but there's none in politicians. Lawrence of Arabia

What do you believe in, then? Well, I believe in the soul, the cock,
the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high
fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent,
overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe
there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and
the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core
pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than
Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that
last three days.

---Bull Durham (this is on the list in abbreviated format, because
there are dirty words and ideas in there. Personally, I love the bit
about the novels of Susan Sontag being self-indulgent, overrated crap,
but hey, that's just me.)
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. ---An Ideal Husband

Posted by Kathy at 03:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

God love the literary hoi-polloi:

God love the literary hoi-polloi:

Who says people don't care about books? For the second year in a row, controversy has swirled around the National Book Awards. Last year literary lions were scandalized when horror novelist Stephen King received the medal for outstanding contribution to American letters. This year eyebrows rose among some critics, authors, and publishers over the five finalists in fiction. The main beef seemed to be that the finalists, all New Yorkers, are not well known, and that their books are obscure or esoteric or both, as well as poor sellers -- this in a year when several literary heavyweights published books. "I realize that I'm the heathen at the gate here," Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman of Time Warner Book Group, said in an interview yesterday, "but I believe that books which resonate in our society and -- yes, to use that awful word -- that sell should be recognized in awarding these honors." For a committee of five writers to make the choice, Kirshbaum said, "is much too limited to reflect the book business and the role of books in our culture." The winner, announced Wednesday night, was Lily Tuck for her historical novel "The News From Paraguay." The other finalists were Sarah Shun-lien Bynum for her first novel, "Madeleine Is Sleeping;" Christine Schutt for "Florida"; Joan Silber for "Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories"; and Kate Walbert for "Our Kind: A Novel in Stories." Rick Moody was chairman of the fiction panel, which also included Randall Kenan, Stewart O'Nan, Linda Hogan, and Susan Straight. After the finalists were announced last month, novelist Tom McGuane was quoted in The New Yorker as saying the award was "apparently tanking." Last week, in The New York Times Book Review, critic Laura Miller wrote that none of the finalists "could be reasonably expected to please more than a small audience." Citing Nielsen BookScan, a rating agency, Miller noted that four of the five books had sold fewer than 2,000 copies. She also suggested the panelists had deliberately thumbed their noses at the "literary establishment" by tilting toward previously unnoticed books.
So, lemme see if I've got this whole brouhaha straight: authors of literary fiction, whose books don't sell nearly as well as say, John Grisham, have their knickers in a twist because none of the books nominated for this year's National Book Award have sold well. The authors and their works are "obscure," they say. Yet, amazingly enough, these bozos are the same idiots who can't sell enough of their own work to finance the production of said work. They willingly rely upon the sales of popular fiction to pay their advances, while simultaneously never failing to bite the burgeois hand that feeds them by bemoaning the Decline of Western Civilization popular fiction represents to them. It's the height of lunacy. {Insert premature evil cackle of triumph here} I forsee a time in the future, when my manuscript is published and the royalty checks have started to roll in. I will be lazing about on the beach of my newly purchased Caribbean shack whilst pondering on my cabana boy's beautiful, thonged butt. Tearing my mind away from his glorious gluteus maximus for a brief moment, I will raise my up glass full of frothy pina colada and will toast the reading public's absolute boredom with literary fiction and the pretentiousness found therein. Because their boredom will have made me stinking rich, and, I will know that somewhere in Manhattan, some young, earnest Princeton grad will be setting down the words he believes will become The Great American Novel(TM). I know he will truly believe this will be the novel that becomes not only a National Book Award winner, but that it could take the Pulitzer for fiction as well. It could even make some money, too, he believes. Why, he's the next Steinbeck! He's sure of it. Toward that end, he will work industriously at producing beautiful prose and will fret over the placement of every single comma. He will worry about getting the inevitable heartbreak just right.

While I know that he will probably get published, that his work will be well-reviewed by the New York Times Book Review, I also know he will never have what I have, simply because his work will bore the shit
out of his audience and no one will ever buy it to read it. They will
buy it because the critics have said they should buy it, not because
they actually want to read it. Yet, when they actually settle down to
read it...well, they'll keep falling asleep and the book will
ultimately end up gathering dust on a bookshelf. Our earnest Princeton
grad, ultimately, will have to take that teaching job to make ends meet
because his royalty checks won't pay the rent.
And I will still be gazing at my cabana boy's glorious ass.

Posted by Kathy at 03:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

{click for bigger} Got

{click for bigger}
Got this in the mail today and I thought I'd share. Guy is my nephew
and the eldest of the grandkids. He's a good kid and I'm pleased that
he got with the program and graduated. It was kind of dicey there for a
time, but he pulled it together and will have the paper when he
finishes with his finals. YAY!
Congrats Guy!

Posted by Kathy at 03:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wooooh. While being universally panned

Wooooh. While being universally panned by the critics, it seems Alexander has one defender: Gore Vidal.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - While critics savaged Oliver Stone's long-waited epic "Alexander," novelist and social activist Gore Vidal rallied to the $160 million movie's defense saying it was "barrier-breaking" because of its frank depiction of bisexuality. Stone's film opened on Wednesday to near universal pans from critics who called it everything from a "noble failure" to an "indifferent epic." The Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer said the movie was "an act of hubris so huge, that, in Alexander's time, it would draw lightning bolts from contemptuous gods." Vidal said the critics failed to see it was a seminal movie because of its treatment of Alexander's bisexuality. {...} In an interview with Reuters, Vidal said the film was "a breakthrough in what you can make films about. Movies are always the last to register changes in society and this movie does it." Vidal's novels and plays, including the hit drama "The Best Man," often deal with once taboo gay themes. He said American filmmakers had thrown up a wall against showing bisexuality out of fear of alienating the public. "But I don't see why they should be so upset since the public practices it," he said.
{Insert shaking of head here}

What have you got here? One revisionist historian defending yet another revisionist historian. Alexander's
not a "seminal" work (poor choice of words there, eh, Gore?)because it
shows Alexander the Great's bisexuality. Give it a rest, Gore.
Bisexuality was as common in those times as internet porn is nowadays.
Ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed buggering young men. Why? Because
young men's bodies were seen in those times as the height of
aesthetics. Everyone who's ever had to take a course in school that
touched on ancient Greeks and Romans knows this. You haven't lived
until the nun who taught you Latin talked about the prevalence of
buggery in those days. Yet, even for me, it wasn't taught as "Buggery
brought down the Roman and Greeks," but rather that this is how they
did things back then. Modern notions of right or wrong never came into
it. It was simply a lesson in different cultures, different aesthetic
standards, different morals leading to the cultural acceptablitity of
different sexual practices. Portraying Alexander's switchhitting isn't
"barrier breaking." It was an attempt by Ollie Stone to get it right,
which he failed to do, once again. Why didn't he get it right? Well,
while I haven't seen the movie (meaning I make no claims that this next
statement is 100% accurate), reportedly Stone's script has Alexander
actually in
love with Hephaestion. Uh, I don't think so, bub. Bisexuality was
common then, yes. Not denying that one little bit. But that doesn't
mean Alexander loved his lover. Just because Plato wrote poetry about
the beauty of the male form doesn't mean even he fell in love with the
young boys he was buggering. That act, in Plato's day and age, was seen
as, well, unseemly. Shameful, in fact: you played with men, you were infatuate with them, but you most certainly didn't love them.

What was Ollie trying to accomplish here? Well, I'm pretty sure he was trying to push acceptabilty of bisexuality---today's
notion of bisexuality, meaning you can fall in love with either a man
or a woman and the matching genitalia is an after the fact thing---onto
Alexander's relationship with Hephaestion, hence furthering (or so
Ollie would think)the public's acceptance of bisexuality. After all, if
Alexander was bi, why shouldn't such a thing be publically accepted?
More revisionist history aimed at pushing forward an agenda Stone finds
should be commonly accepted today. And Gore Vidal, of course, would
back this agenda, because if he didn't what would happen to all the
revisionist history he tries to dump onto the public every day of the
week? This movie is far from "barrier breaking" to my mind: it's going
to wind up marginalizing the GLBT community because Stone got it wrong.
Let me explain: a few years ago, I was having coffee with Mr. H. and
his then boyfriend and we were chatting about seeing a A Beautiful Mind.
Mr. H's boyfriend was upset over the fact that John Nash's numerous
bisexual relationships weren't going to be shown in the film---at all.
Mr. H. took issue with this, saying it was the director's choice. It
was Ron Howard's film and he could do with it as he wished, but noted
that there, indeed, was a scene in which Nash's bisexuality was
acknowledged; it was that you just had to be looking for it as it was
subtle. This wasn't good enough for the boyfriend: he wanted it all out
there. Mr. H., who by this time was a bit exasperated, put an end to
the conversation by in effect asking, would you rather it was
completely ignored or if Howard had put a scene in there that got it
completely wrong? To consolidate his position, he then went onto to
explain the obvious: that Nash's bisexuality wasn't the central focus
of the story; that, yes, it happened, but it really didn't matter all
that much because it wasn't central to his schizophrenia, which was
what the story was actually about. The boyfriend wasn't convinced, but
he grudgingly accepted Mr. H's position. Personally, I think Mr. H. was
right. Does inaccurately portraying Alexander's relationship with
Hephaestion---portraying their relationship in a 21st Century
light---help Obvious Ollie's goal of furthering tolerance and barrier
breaking? I don't think it does. If Ollie wanted to get it right, he
could have. He could have accurately portrayed Alexander's bisexuality
and it would have furthered the knowledge we all gained when we were in
school and were taught that the Ancient's liked to get it on with men
as well as women; that they didn't think there was anything wrong with
it; that perhaps it didn't turn out so bad for them, so what's wrong
with it nowadays? That's understanding:
showing someone something in a different light and getting that person
to think differently about the issue being contested. But Ollie didn't
do that. He revised the history in question. He pushed his own
agenda on the story, getting it completely wrong in the process. He
didn't give his audience credit for having brains. He didn't further
understanding of bisexuality. Instead, he shoved it down their throats
and wants to force them to come to the correct conclusion. Which does
those of us who believe the GLBT community shouldn't be marginalized,
but rather embraced and given the same rights as heterosexuals, no
favors in bringing those who think differently on board. I've said in
the past that when people who are opposed to what gays and lesbians do
in their bedrooms actually manage to mind their own business, they will
come to see there there is absolutely no freakin' difference between a homosexual couple and a heterosexual one.
This is what I have seen. This is what I believe. By focusing entirely
way too much on Alexander's bedroom, Obvious Ollie didn't push
tolerance forward, but rather set it back.

Posted by Kathy at 03:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And speaking of Rottweilers, this

speaking of Rottweilers, this is Nessie.
She's the newest addition to the Doctor's and ML's household. She
joined up a little over a month ago, having been rescued from the
Hastings no-kill shelter and she's just the sweetest thing. While she's
part-Rottweiler (she's definitely a mix, but theories vary as to what
her other half is. I'm of the school that thinks the other half is part
spaniel, because of her body shape and hair, but I'm no expert on dog
breeds) she doesn't have a mean bone in her body and she's just too
cute not to share with everyone.

Posted by Kathy at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seeing as how we're really

Seeing as how we're really poor right now, there hasn't been a whole
lot of extra coin to spend on fun stuff. Like CD's. Now, I'm fine with
this, for the most part, but I really wanted this CD. So, the husband, being the master of BitTorrent that he is, downloaded it for me a few weeks ago.

Do I feel guilty about stealing this music?

Not one little bit. I've given a big chunk of change over the years to U2. I've bought their CD's. I still have "Under a Blood Red Sky"
on vinyl. I've even seen them in concert. Plus, I'm giving them some
free PR here, so I think they can't forgive me this one download.
Besides, Bono has already forgiven me:

"It's never nice to have a thief in charge of your release campaign," lead singer Bono told Reuters in a recent interview.

"However, it's up there. Bootlegs are fine if you're making a few of
them for your friends, but if it's big business, bad-ass crime, I don't
think you want to be a part of that and that's what this is."
commentators have suggested that publicity surrounding the loss, and
speculation that the release date of one of the year's most eagerly
awaited albums may be brought forward, could boost the record's success
rather than dent it.

Ok, so not really, but if he really wants my money, he'll have to come
and get me. Mr. H.---the ulimate U2 fan---told me not to feel guilty
about it at all. He truly believes that this "theft" is part of U2's PR
blitz. He also told me he wouldn't be surprised if it was Bono himself
who uploaded the disc. U2 is very media-savvy, so I wouldn't be
surprised, either, but I still felt guilty. Then I got over it the
minute Mr. H. said he wanted a copy. He's running out to buy the
limited edition release today, so his purchase will have to cover both
of our asses.
Anyway, as far as How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb itself is concerned, well, sit right back and let me tell you a tale...'s damn good!

For me, it's a logical continuation of All That You Can't Leave Behind. U2 has never been afraid to evolve with the times. If they hadn't been, well, we'd still be getting albums that sounded like Boy.
They're not afraid of going someplace new. They listen to the music
around them, pilfer bits and pieces, adapt it to their original style
and create something new in the process. Something that's still
entirely U2, yet different. Think about the jump from The Joshua Tree to Achtung Baby! Bomb is different in that, they're revisiting some of their old styles and then are taking that
to someplace new and exciting. Mr. H. is of the opinion that the album
as a whole is fairly mellow. I would agree with this. It is mellow, and
if mellow U2 bothers you, well, this isn't the album for you. Here's
the song by song takedown:
1. Vertigo: Rockin'! This song, while great on its own, reminds me a lot of "Mysterious Ways" from Achtung Baby! in that it takes no prisoners.

2. Miracle Drug: A little mellow, but still a wee bit edgy.

3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own: or as I like to call it, Stuck in a Moment: Redux.
Yet another song devoted to telling people that it's ok to ask for help
when they're depressed. Nice message and all, but I'm not really all
that hot on this song and have a habit of skipping it. 4. Love and Peace. Or Else: This is one hot song. Man. Edge
starts off with a riff straight out of Texas. In comes Larry with the
drums, then instantly they just let Adam go nuts with his bass. It
blares and thumps and it sounds so damn good. Just as you're enjoying the music, Bono comes in and gets down and dirty. I'm not easy on my knees. No, Bono, baby, we know you're not easy on your knees, which is why we love you admitting it. This harkens right back to Rattle and Hum for me. Yet, Bono finally learned how to sing the blues without screaming. This is how he should have sung When Love Comes To Town.

5. City of Blinding Lights: Yet another mellow song with a nice melody, but it's definitely a harsh comedown after Love and Peace. Or Else. As a result, I hate to say it, but it's somewhat forgettable.

6. All Because of You: Edge does a guitar riff similar to the one on Where the Streets Have No Name, and while it's much shorter, it still takes you right back to The Joshua Tree, yet that's where the similarity stops. The song is very pop and is somewhat bouncy.

7. A Man and a Woman:
The song tells the tale of love, and how hard it is to understand what
each sex is thinking. It's laid back and melodious, with Bono sounding
a wee bit like a lounge singer on the chorus, but it totally fits.
8. Crumbs From Your Table: Somewhat sultry. I adore Bono
singing "Cool down, Mama." Pretty much has the same theme as the
previous two songs, so it fits well.
9. One Step Closer: Beautiful melodious beginning. There are
hints of guitar twang blended with a gorgeous Lanois-style keyboard
excursion. Since I don't have the actual CD, well, I can't tell you if
Daniel himself played, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he
had: it sounds like him. The visual that comes to me when I listen to
this song is one of Bono, sitting on the front porch of a ramshackle
house in the desert, singing solo, while lightning flares in the
distance. 10. Original of the Species: Soft start with a pickup in tempo and sound toward the chorus.

11. Yaweh:
This is the proverbial nice white wine with a light finish. Bono and
Edge share the verses. This automatically makes it softer because Bono
adjusts his vocal stylings whenever he sings with Edge so he doesn't
drown him out. And yes, they're talking about God and being good people
because He asks it of us. It's a fairly religious tune, and I wouldn't
be surprised if the Evangelicals didn't jump all over it. Go and buy
it. It's obvious which songs I liked better simply by the word count.
Yet, if you're going to come back at me and say, "hey, Kath, you didn't
like most of them," I'll say this in reply: bad U2 is better than "good
anything else" six days out of seven. This isn't bad U2. It's just not
previous albums. It's different. If you're a U2 fan, of course you'll
like it. If you're a sometime U2 fan, and their "weirder" stuff turns
you off, this will probably please you quite a bit. If you're expecting
every song to sound like "Vertigo," well, I'm sorry to say it, but
you're screwed. They're definitely mellowing as they get older. I don't
exactly know what this means for the next album, but for now, it's all good.

Posted by Kathy at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Margi claims this holiday skin

Margi claims this holiday skin
of hers is the only Christmassy thing she's done to prepare for the
It's generally been my experience that people who get all excited about
Christmas decorations are the same people who have jammed their bedroom
closet with wrapped presents by Halloween. Hmmmm.
Something's just not right.
And yes, Margi, I still love you. It's just that you promised
you weren't going to start using that skin until after Thanksgiving.
Has Thanksgiving come and gone and I missed the drumstick action?
Hmmmm? I don't think so, hence I'm giving you shit. Simple as that

Posted by Kathy at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can I get an AMEN?

Can I get an AMEN?

Posted by Kathy at 02:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...the home of Wal-Mart, where

...the home of Wal-Mart, where a bajillion semis hit I-70, mucking up
the traffic for every other driver who has to suffer through
Arkansas... Fausta's husband points out where they can hook up the tractor-trailors to the Clinton Presidential Library.

Posted by Kathy at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Check this out. What the

Check this out.

What the hell happened to Yushchenko?

Sounds like a case for this dude.
(And yes, I'm harping to get you to watch that TV show, but damnit,
it's finally something worthwhile to watch on Tuesday nights. It's
good. I like it and I want it to stay on the air---rather than it being
cancelled and being subjected to more Paris Hilton.) {Hat tip: Sully}

Posted by Kathy at 02:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ah, a heretic is pondering

Ah, a heretic is pondering the benefits of trying on some of those long-discarded traditions they dumped when they rid themselves of the Pope.

I happen to chair the Lenten Task Force at my Church and am responsible for putting on a program suitable to the season. The last couple years, we've had a series of lectures on various topics that has, frankly, left me rather unsatisfied. {...}This year, however, we are working on something different, a series of much more interactive, hands-on offerings, activities that are designed to actually aid people in the spiritual purification that is supposed to be the hallmark of Lent, leading up to the celebration of Easter. Our goal is to provide a number of different kinds of activity. One possibility is the erection of a labrynth, something that apparently has got quite trendy as a meditiation device, although it is too New Age-y for my taste. Another possibility is some plainchant or other musical offering. There is even talk of a rosary course. (No word yet on whether ecumenical outreach is going to extent to include sacrificing virgins with golden sickles under mistletoe-decked oak trees, but we're working on it.) But, keying off the professors remarks, the one that has caught my personal attention is the possible provision of confession. We undertake a general confession as part of our worship service every Sunday, of course, but it is generic and corporate, a prayer recited by the entire congregation. Here, we would be offering the opportunity for the kind of personal, one-on-one, priest-penitent experience of the Catholic Church. (I believe there is provision for this kind of confession within the Anglican tradition. I don't know if it is formally incorporated into Episcopalianism as well. I'll have to look this up.) I've never taken this kind of confession before. What is the form? Does one simply tell off the kinds of sin one has committed (pride, lust, envy)? Or does one give specifics (names, places, dates)? It strikes me that the advantage of this form is that, by requiring the confessing party to recite his or her own shortcomings in detail, it forces that person to come more honestly face to face with them, to accept guilt for them and to try to change for the better. The trouble I find with the general confession is that it is rote recitation of a generic formula. Unless one is really concentrating, it is easy to let the mind wander. And the RC's, at least, are very clear that simple recitation of sins, without the accompanying conscious effort of responsibility and atonement, is no confession at all and, if anything, leaves the person worse off than before.
I love it when I get to blather on about religion! Tee hee! Now, I understand about the communal confession thing. The in-laws are Protestant and as such I've been to a few services at the myriad denominations they've belonged to over the years. (They have been since I've known them, (in order) Methodist, Presbyterian, and now they're Methodist again. The sister-in-law and her family are Missouri Synod Lutheran because the other branch of Lutheranism was too liberal for their tastes). Yet, no matter what sect they're a member of this week, the communal confession part of their service never fails to surprise me. "You're a sinner, but we know you're sorry, hence you're forgiven! Now let's have communion!" If you happened to nod off for five minutes, you could conceivably miss the cleansing of your own soul. Even though I was educated in Catholic schools, we were never left to think that the history of Catholicism was perfect. Catholics had flaws and the Church had goofed, in other words, and here is x, y, and z examples to prove it. They were pretty objective, on the whole, I like to think. One of those goofs was the selling of indulgences, which ultimately led Martin Luther to post his 95 Theses on the door of his monastery in Worms. An indulgence, if you're not familiar, was purchased forgiveness. The Church---at that period in time, a viable nation-state who liked to conduct wars, replete with Popes who had expensive mistresses, etc.---was running short on moolah, so to raise some coin, they started selling the sort of forgiveness for sins that someone wouldn't be able to find in a confessional. This was so successful at bringing in coin, the Church decided to spread the practice to the common peasant. Priests, under orders from their Bishops, would concentrate on preaching that sin was everywhere and within everyone, telling their parishoners that salvation could be found---for a price. It was this that led Martin Luther to act: he saw the poor being frightened into handing over what little they had to fund what he believed were corrupt practices. Martin Luther had a point. Hence the Church excommunicated him and he started up his own Church. While the Church has apologized and admitted that selling indulgences was a bad thing(a few years too late if you ask me) this was what, I was taught, led the Reformation to start in earnest. Henry VIII might have split because he couldn't get a divorce from wives who wouldn't produce male offspring, but this was the issue that really got the ball rolling. Hence, in Luther's new church, confession was simplified and the temptation to use people's sins against them was removed. It was also, in my humble opinion, a move away from the individual and their struggle to find faith and keep it---despite the Church's reputation as a monolith---to one of finding safety in numbers. Given this acrimonious history---a history which not only tripped the Reformation, but the Inquisition and Counterreformation as well----I find it interesting that Robbo's wanting to bring Catholic style confession into his Episcopalian Church, even if it's only for a limited time. I also think it's great. Confession is one of the best parts about being Catholic, although I'm sure it doesn't seem like that to others. You're asking for forgiveness for your sins, but to get that absolution you have to confess your sins to begin with. That has to be scary for someone who's never actually had to do it before. Yet, it's one of the most spiritually fulfilling things you'll ever do as a Catholic because it shows you, once again, that the burden to be good is on you. The Church can only show you where Jesus' footsteps are, it's up to you to walk in them. In Catholicism, Confession is also called "The Sacrament of Reconciliation." This is the post-Vatican II description, but it's the same darned thing. It's important to realize, however, that it is a sacrament, just like baptism, confirmation, marriage or taking the Eucharist every Sunday. It's a biggie, in other words. It's a holy thing and one that is required of all Catholics to take. In fact, the sacrament of The Last Rites, or The Annointing of the Sick as it's called nowadays, includes confession as part of its ritual, so you can meet your maker with a clean heart. So, while it's still just a sacrament, Confession is not on equal footing with the other sacraments: it's also required before you can take any of the others, baptism excluded obviously. This is what allows for the "pure heart" you're required to take communion with. Though, nowadays, obtaining a "pure heart" takes a wee bit of work. First, you actually have to track down a priest to give this sacrament to you. There was a day and age when priests automatically set up shop in a confessional before each and every mass they performed. Not so anymore. My church has confession twice a week: for an hour on Thursday evenings and on Saturday mornings. That's it, unless you want to call the priest up at the rectory and set up a time. Priests have cut back on confession because Catholics have cut back on confession: people just don't go much anymore. For example, not to out my mom, but I know for a fact she hasn't been in ages, and the only reason I know this is because my dad---a weekly confession attendee---never fails to remind her of this and frets about her soul. He's one of the few people I know who always talks about confession as a good thing: most people I know who are Catholic don't like it because it reminds them of their faults. (See, Robbo: there are even new-agey Catholics!)I am one of these, I will admit, but in later years I've finally been able to see my Dad's "good for you" argument. As far as the technicalities of the procedure, well, it's actually a pretty simple thing. First off, you have a choice of whether to say your confession anonymously by hiding behind a screen, or you can say it "face to face", where you sit down with the priest and he sees your face and you see his. It all depends upon your preferences and if the church itself is equipped for such a thing, because a lot of older churches are not set up for face to face confessions. I personally like having a choice: it all depends upon what I'm confessing and who the priest is and if I like him and he likes me. Although, just as an aside, I must say, there's nothing more disconcerting than expecting to have a choice, wanting to opt for the screen and being forced to give your confession face to face. Highly nervewracking. You go into the box, it never starts off like in the movies. You never say, "Father, please forgive me it's been x number of day since my last confession." I've never said that to a priest. First off, they welcome you. Then they'll say a prayer--out loud---for the success of the confession: that they'll hear your confession with an objective heart and that you'll confess your sins in a heartful manner, or they might read some Scripture---or they may not do any of these things. Then you can either tell him how long it's been since you've been to confession or not. He may ask, he may not. Like most things within the Church: it all depends on the priest. Now we've come to the fun part because, as you'll have noticed, there's a lot of potential for sinning when you're a Catholic. The best guideline for deciding where you've sinned or not is to run through the Ten Commandments, and this is what we were taught. When I was a kid my big sin was "disrespecting my mother and father." Lying is also verboten, hence I confessed to that a lot as well. What's funny about this with children is that when you're young, you don't know what "adultery" is or what it means to "covet your neighbors wife," so a few kids I knew actually confessed to "adultery," just to make sure they'd covered all the bases. However, when you're confessing as an adult, things get a wee bit more complicated. After all, you're now able to sin in so many new and exciting ways, the priest might want to know about them. Hence they'll ask for specifics to put your sin in perspective. This is when you see it as a really good thing that your confession is sealed. As in the priest cannot divulge---ever---what you've said in the box. You're free to tell. You might be embarrassed to tell, but you're free to do so anyway. And, I might add, that if you've been harboring a secret, it's not only a relief to get it off your chest, it's also nice to have someone give you an outside perspective because it might not be as bad as you thought. Then comes judgment time: your penance. Depending upon the severity of your sins you might be sent to a monastery to kneel on cold floors for years to atone for your sins (well, not anymore, but it wasn't unheard of in the olden days) or you might be told to say a few decades of the rosary or maybe you'll get off with a few Our Father's and Hail Mary's. This is where you nod, accept your penance and they say an Act of Contrition, which attests to the fact that yes, you really are sorry for your sins and that you want forgiveness. Then the priest absolves you and off you go to say your penance. What's hard to describe is when you leave the box: I've always felt physically lighter when I've left. All those cliched descriptions about "relief washing over you" actually fit in this situation. You feel closer to God, too, because He understands you and loves you enough to forgive you your worst behavior, and you carry that with you for a time. Then, because you're a human being, hence automatically vulnerable to sinning, you'll forget about it and start sinning all over again. But that's the beauty of confession: it's always there for you: you can go back and confess again. I sincerely hope Robbo take up the challenge and sees if this is possible for his church. Like anything, confession involves risk: you have to out your flaws and be judged upon them. This is hard. But, as they say, where there are great risks, there are also great rewards to be reaped.
Posted by Kathy at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...Chuck Shumer, of all people,

...Chuck Shumer, of all people, but damn, does he have the right idea with this one.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Frustrated by deadbeat foreign diplomats, the U.S. Congress has voted to cut aid to their countries by about the sum they owe in unpaid parking tickets in the United States. At the urging of New York lawmakers, Congress tucked the measure -- to cut aid to countries next year by 110 percent of the amount their diplomats owe in parking tickets and penalties -- into the huge $388 billion spending bill lawmakers approved over the weekend. New York City, which houses the United Nations, would stand to recover about $195 million from about 200 countries, New York's senators said.
It's about time someone finally stuck it to those deadbeats.

Diplomatic immunity should not extend to parking fines.

Posted by Kathy at 02:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, lookie here. Blaque Jacques

Well, lookie here. Blaque Jacques now has to follow someone else's whims for a change.

Tee frickin' hee.

*sung to the theme of Speed Racer!

Posted by Kathy at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cult Movies: The Top Sixty-One.

Cult Movies: The Top Sixty-One. Courtesy of you know who. The ones I've highlighed are those that I've seen.

1 This Is Spinal Tap
- I finally saw this---the whole way through a couple of months ago.
Hi-larious. If you want more funny, watch the DVD with the commentary
running. 2 The Rocky Horror Picture Show: If you must see this movie, see it at the theater. Be very drunk, that way the flying toast won't bother you.
3 Freaks
4 Harold And Maude
5 Pink Flamingos
6 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
7 Repo Man My brother made me watch this when I was fifteen or
sixteen. Didn't get it. Don't know that I want to go back and revisit
to see if it was just the age thing, as I suspect, or if it really was
that weird.
8 Scarface: Gratuitous coke snorting, gunfire and Al Pacino
sporting a Cuban accent, well, what's not to love? Oh, the soundtrack
isn't much to listen to, but it's still fun. 9 Blade Runner: Get the director's cut if you're going to watch this. Much, much better.
10 The Shawshank Redemption This one suckers me in every time it's on cable. Which is a lot.
11 Five Deadly Venoms
12 Plan 9 From Outer Space
13 Brazil
14 Eraserhead
15 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
16 The Warriors
17 Dazed And Confused Despite Boom-Boom's presence in this film, it's still one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.
18 Hard-Boiled
19 Evil Dead II
20 The Mack
21 Pee-Wee's Big Adventure: It's Pee-Wee for cryin' out loud! Ya gotta love it!
22 Un Chien Andalou
23 Akira: the husband made me watch this. It's Anime, and I'm not Anime's biggest fan, so we'll just leave it at that.
24 The Toxic Avenger
25 Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory: Charlie and Grandpa RULE!
26 Stranger Than Paradise
27 Dawn Of The Dead
28 The Wiz-Despite Michael Jackson's presence in this film, Diana Ross still rocks.
29 Clerks Not my favorite Kevin Smith film. I personally think this
was underrated and if I ever meet Ben Affleck I will swear on a
stack---right here and now---that I'm calling him "Shannon, from the
Fashionable Male." 30 The Harder They Come 31 Slap Shot 32 Re-Animator
33 Grey Gardens 34 The Big Lebowski 35 Withnail and I---I haven't seen
this one, but my UK friend M. had a party at Babushka's, where part of
it was shot.
36 Showgirls 37 A Bucket Of Bood 38 They Live 39 The Best Of Everything
40 Barbarella 41 Heathers What girl my age hasn't seen this?
42 Rushmore Great frickin' movie. Bill Murray at his best.
43 The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension
Watched this one when I was twelve. Didn't get it. Haven't seen it
since. But my brother Dave swears, to this day, it's the funniest movie
he's ever seen. 44 Love Streams 45 Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
46 Aguirre, The Wrath of God
47 Walking And Talking Nicole Holofcener 48 The Decline Of Western
Civilization II: The Metal Years 49 Friday 50 Faces of Death, Vol. 1 51 Monty Python and the Holy Grail "Consult the Book of Armaments!
52 A Clockwork Orange--haven't seen this one, but the husband seems to think that I should.
53 Mommie Dearest
54 The Princess Bride: Love is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something!
55 Swingers: You are so money you don't even know how money you are!
56 UHF
57 Valley of the Dolls
58 Fight Club: You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And
it started to make sense, in a Tyler sort of way. No fear. No
distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.
If you feel you need a wake-up call in life, let this be it for you.
59 Dead Alive (aka Braindead)
60 Better Off Dead: Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.
61 Donnie Darko: I've come in on the tail end of this one and it looks interesting. I have yet to be motivated to actually rent it, however.

Posted by Kathy at 01:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I don't think you could

I don't think you could call it an adventure in the way some people
around the country are having "voting adventures" but it got me out of
the house, so I suppose, given the limited way I lead my life, you
could technically call it an "adventure" if you count walking to my
precinct, waiting in line and voting in that lofty category.
Surprisingly, given all the hubbub about record turnout and long lines,
it wasn't a hassle. I didn't honestly know what to expect so I just
made sure to clear my busy morning schedule and brought a radio headset
along in case things got boring. My voting district, specifically my
precinct, is one of the few majority Republican districts in a very
Democratic Hennepin County, Minnesota. We always have a high turnout
for elections---even for those of the local variety, so I wasn't really
surprised to see the line of voters snaking out the door. I was
surprised, however, to see that things were moving quickly. We may have
great turnout, but our poll workers, on the whole, don't move on
anyone's time other than their own. After waiting for about five
minutes outside of the polling place, the line moved inside and we were
directed in short order to check in. Then we received our ballots and
our instructions to fill in the little black circle fully, and off we
All told, I spent about twenty minutes in line and voting. The only
problem of the whole excursion was that I goofed when sliding my ballot
into the scanner and it shot it back out. I tried again, after
receiving some coaching from the attendant and it slid in. At 10:30a.m.
CST, when I cast my ballot into the scanner, the machine said my ballot
was the five hundred and sixth cast today. The polls opened at seven,
so you do the math. The Cake Eater Cops were actively patrolling the
parking lot and the area surrounding the polling area, looking to
squash trouble, but there was none to be found. We didn't have any hecklers---there weren't even any campaigners beyond the 100
feet boundary. It was quiet and democracy was working. The only thing I
found interesting---and disconcerting---was that when the poll worker
checked me in, I could see that the husband was still on the voting
rosters. Hmmmph. To be quick about this admission in case you haven't
been reading the Cake Eater Chronicles very long: the husband is a
convicted felon. It was a felony DWI and NO
he didn't run a busload of nuns off the road: he drove into a ditch and
has never hurt anyone other than himself with his actions. His record
simply worked against him in this instance, but anyway he's on
probation until 2008 and in accordance with federal law, he is not
allowed to vote in any election: his civil rights have been suspended
as part of his punishment. Yet the Hennepin County Board of Elections
apparently hadn't been made aware of this development. Hmmph. The last
time I voted was last year---we had a property tax referendum and I
went to vote and the husband didn't, just assuming his information
would have been removed from the rosters. Well, since his name is
directly below mine on the roster you have to sign before you receive
your ballot, it would have been hard to miss that his name was where it
wasn't supposed to be. I told him about it and we had an interesting
argument about taking advantage of government bureaucracy goofs. He
ultimately chose not to vote that day, even though he could have easily
done so with no one the wiser, because he didn't want to cause trouble.
I thought his name might be on there this time, but I thought it
improbable: enough time has passed that I thought they might have
caught it.
The husband, to be clear about it, is NOT voting today. He
doesn't want to cause problems, so he's enforcing the law where the
state has been lax in doing so. But it makes me wonder. How many other
felons are still on the rolls in Minnesota and are casting ballots
today? I do not know whether the burden is on the government to clear
the rosters of felons, or if the burden is on the felons themselves to
restrain from voting, but that just doesn't sound right given the nanny
state I live in.
Anyway, that's the voting story. Right now, I'm taking the husband to
Dairy Queen because if I go in there with my "I Voted!" sticker on, I
get a free small cone that I'm going to give to him because of his
It seems the least I can do to reward him for his fight for Democracy!

Posted by Kathy at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I know you've been waiting

I know you've been waiting with bated breath to see whom I'm going to
endorse for President. I suppose I could keep you in suspense until
tomorrow, but hey, why should I? You're going to spend your entire day
standing in line, waiting to vote and hence will have no time to read
blogs, so I suppose I should cough up today, eh? It seems only fair.
Well, I'm sure this will be a shocker to some of you, but the Cake
Eater Chronicles endorses President George W. Bush.

Woooh. Shocked, aren't you? To quoth the instadude, "Heh."

Go forth and vote, taking into account my endorsement, eh? Because we all know that endorsements mean so damn much in the scheme of things.

Posted by Kathy at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's what I've got for

That's what I've got for you today.
After driving out to Minnetonka in the driving rain my morning was shot
to hell. Never mind the fact that it was a completely wasted trip, just
the time it took to drive out there and back shot my morning to hell.
I'm on the verge of becoming crabby, too, so I think I'll just spare
you. See ya tomorrow.

Posted by Kathy at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

All righty then! So, we're

All righty then!

So, we're going to fast forward to tomorrow---that would be Thursday.
It's Thanksgiving. The balloons are meandering their way to whatever
place in Manhattan it is that they wander to. You have your bird in the
sink, (or the refrigerator if you're a weenie) you poke at it with your
fingers and the squishy sensation of defrosted meat works its way up
your fingertip to the neurons in your brain, where such information is
processed. You say, "Aha! It's time!" It's time to open that bad boy
up. Get your scissors out and free the bird. If you really want to be
bad about it, throw in the DVD of Fly Away Home . Then proceed to cackle evilly and say, in a Spectre-ish voice, "I'm
going to eat one of your fine feathered friends for dinner. After I
roast him, of course. What have you got to say about that, my dear
stupid geese?"
Or not. It all depends upon how into this you're
getting. You need not channel me. That might be bad and might scare
your family. Yet, it all depends how liquored up they are. Could be
entertaining. You never know. Anyway, what you're going to need at this
point in time is as follows:
-A pair of scissors, but you've probably got those out already
-Your prepped stuffing, if you plan on stuffing your bird, which I
highly recommend that you do because it tastes yummy. There will be
instructions on the bag on how much stuffing to prep for a bird of your
size. I shouldn't have to say this, but you're a newbie, so I will:
have only that much ready to go. -A clean prep station. If you have a
big, wooden cutting board or a butcher's block in your house, use that.
If not, clean off a part of your counter with anti-bacterial cleanser
and use that. The important thing to have here is space. Give yourself
room to maneuver.
-A big bottle of hand soap next to the sink. You're going to be putting
your hands in and out of the bird's cavities, and the former service
professional in me DEMANDS that you wash your hands everytime you touch
the meat and move onto something else. Sorry. I wash my hands at least
four times a night when I'm preparing something as mundane as chicken,
but there has never been an incidence of food poisoning at the Cake
Eater Pad, so I must be doing something right. -Your granny smith
apple, skin on, cut in half with the core hallowed out of each half. No
seeds, in other words.
-A few cloves of garlic, skinned. How many cloves you use is dependent
upon how much you like garlic. The husband claims you can never have
too much garlic. I say you can, but it's up to you. If you do not know
your garlic tolerance level, by all means skip this bit. -A roasting
pan replete with rack. If you do not have one of these, you can
purchase one at Target for a reasonable price ($40 or thereabouts). If
you have settled down to make your Turkey and have completely forgotten
to get a pan to do it in, find a heavy duty foil roasting pan at the
grocery store. I find they're generally in the aisle with all the
cleaning products, but since it's Thanksgiving and all, the store
manager might have moved them to an end-cap, for easy reach. If you
can't find one, ask. And, no, you cannot cook a turkey in a cake pan.
It does not work. -Your bottle of vegetable oil
-Salt and pepper
-A ball of string
Ok, got all your stuff together? Is your work space prepped? Do you
have an apron on? Better question, are you male and does the apron make
you look hot? If so, here's my number... {insert slap on head from
husband here}Anyhoo, it's time to start prepping your fine and formerly
feathered friend for his moment in the sun. (pun completely intended)
Now that your turkey has shed his wrappings, it's time to check him
out. And by that I mean it's time for you to snap your rubber gloves in
a menacing way and go cavity diving. You'll also be doing this without
the machine that goes PING!
It may be the most expensive machine in the whole hospital, but
honestly you don't need it. You'll survive. This is the first thing you
have to do, and I'm sorry for it, but hey, you're going to have your
hands in and out of this bird all day long---you might as well get used
to it.
There are two cavities that you will need to check: the neck and the
main body cavity. We'll start with the easy one: the neck. The neck is
up where you'd expect the neck to be: it's hidden behind a flappy piece
of skin and, depending upon the size of the bird you bought, the cavity
here will be about the size of a cup (the measuring kind) or a wee bit
larger. Once you have checked that out, it's time to work your way
around to the back of the bird and check the main cavity. It's the one
between the legs. Not really all that hard to find. There will probably
be a piece of plastic holding the legs together. Remove this and throw
it away. Are you ready? Ok, it's time to go cavity diving.
Now, I realize this isn't the most appealing part of roasting a turkey.
It's gross, it reminds you of either your proctologist or
gynecologist's behavior. Well, get over it. Think of yourself as a
little kid who has just found a mud puddle. You know it's bad to jump
in the mud puddle. You know your mom will disapprove. But you want to
do it anyway because you have a morbid fascination with all things
dirty. That's the feeling I want out of you: Think of the bird as a mud
puddle. Let the temptation to jump right in slink over you and embrace
it. You'll find it much easier that way. Once you've removed the bit of
plastic, it's time to stick your hand inside and find the neck and the
giblet package. Now, there's not always
a neck inside these bad boys. In the past couple of years, they seem to
have done away with packaging this up, mainly since people don't use
it. But there will be a package of giblets, which you can save for when
you make the gravy if you like. There might also be other assorted
goodies inside the cavity. Like a gravy packet. Pull these out and
place them in your sink for later use. See, that wasn't so bad, was it?
If it was, medicate with alcohol: that's the only thing that will get
you through the rest of it. It has happened to me in the past where
I've gone cavity diving and I've found that the inside still has a wee
bit of a frosty feel to it. All this means is that your turkey hasn't
completely defrosted. You will begin to freak out, but stop yourself. I
know you're on a schedule, but resist the urge: there is a simple
solution to this problem. Take your turkey over to the sink and fill up
the cavity with warm water. Not hot, warm.
Let Mr. Bird sit upright in your sink so that he looks like he's
reclining in a hot tub, about to have a chat with Anna-Nicole Smith.
Let him rest like that until water becomes cold, then dump the water
out and see where you're at. If the bird still feels frozen, repeat
until the cavity is ready. Your bird will not become waterlogged as a
result of this process. Ok, so now Mr. Bird is ready to go, what's
next? Why, it's time to start stuffing! Which we will handle in our
next installment of As the Bird Turns.

Posted by Kathy at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Arthur Hailey has died. I

Arthur Hailey has died.
I went on an Arthur Hailey reading spree during the summer vacation
between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. This was also
the summer I was forced to take Driver's Ed at Omaha's Westside High
School because my parochial school did not offer it and my father
insisted I take it so he could get a discount on the car insurance. The
class was a joke. I went to private school. This was my first foray
into the vast world of public education since kindergarten. Their
standards, even for Drivers's Ed seemed weak. I figured I'd ace it with
minimal effort expended on my part, yet I almost failed it because of
the weeklong simulator portion. My fellow students and I spent the week
in a darkened trailer, pretending to follow the road of a movie that
was playing on the screen at the front of the trailer by turning our
steering wheels, pressing on the gas, stomping on the brake, etc. The
only problem with this was that I did not have the upper body strength
to crank the friggin' wheel all the way, which was the only way a
successful turn was registered on the teacher's readout. The rather
coarse teacher kept yelling at me, "ZABAWA! TURN THE GODDAMNED WHEEL!"
This was hard for me. I'd been driving Mom's Le Baron for a while. It
had power steering. The wheel on my simulator station did not have
power steering. Also, I knew I wasn't supposed to turn the wheel all
the way on every turn---I'd wind up overturning. If this was supposed
to be a simulator, well, my unvoiced question while the jackal
continued to keep yelling at me was why wasn't the simulator on par
with real life conditions? The question never was answered and on the
Saturday of that week, the teacher told me that he was going to pass me
on to the classroom portion of the course, but that he prayed I never
got my license as he didn't ever want to be on the road with me. I aced
the class portion, by the way. And I have Mr. Hailey to thank for
keeping me from getting bored during it. Three friggin' hours a day,
five days a week, for a month! Ugh! I read "Hotel" while they showed us
all the gory movies. I read "Airport" while the teacher droned on---for
the umpteenth time---about checking your blindspots before changing
lanes. I read "The Final Diagnosis" while the teacher taught us about
the Interstate Highway System. The class was boring, and I would have
acted out if it weren't for Mr. Hailey. I would have wound up in
trouble again, furthering the evaluation of the simulator teacher, if
it hadn't been for his novels. Thanks to him, I kept myself from
passing notes and talking in class. Hence the simulator teacher's
evaluation looked more like an anomaly, rather than an accurate
evaluation of my skills. Thanks for many hours of enjoyment, Mr.
Hailey, and thanks for helping me get through Driver's Ed.

Posted by Kathy at 01:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

YIPPEEEFREAKINSKIPPY! Dan Rather is stepping


Dan Rather is stepping down as anchor at CBS.

Posted by Kathy at 01:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I wonder what odds the

I wonder what odds the bookies are giving for this to successfully maneuver its way through Parliament.

Posted by Kathy at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If that's true, how many

If that's true, how many words is this one worth?

{click for bigger}

The accompanying caption reads:

FALLUJAH, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 11: Forty veils of suspected
Sarin gas are seen in a brief case at a site were U.S Marines from the
1st U.S Marines Expeditionary Force, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines
Regiment, Bravo Company found them wile searcing an house November 11,
2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. U.S Marines from the Bravo Company found 40
veils of suspected Sarin gas November 10 in a brief case hidden in a
truck in the courtyard of an house. Two mortars tubes, three mortar
rockets, compass and fire maps were found. (Photo by Marco Di
Lauro/Getty Images)

(originally found this photo here; more photos of the Sarin discovery here)

So, if this is actually Sarin, and we know one drop of Sarin can kill an adult, how lethal is this?

I don't want to know and I have one thing to say to the United States Marine Corps' 1st Expeditionary Force:THANK YOU!

Oh, and on a related side note, if this pans out, it kinda blows the whole "No WMD's Found" anti-war argument right out of the fucking water, doesn't it? And to anyone who says different, well, you can bite me.

UPDATE: The guys at Powerline
are all over it, and some of their very smart readers have chimed in
and believe these to be nerve agent testing kits, rather than Sarin
Still. It's fuzzy as to why these yahoos would have sarin testing kits
if there wasn't sarin nearby. The US doesn't use WMD, and these
terrorists know our tactics and weaponry. Sure we may use cluster bombs
and depleted uranium shells, but no, we don't use nerve agents. Hmmmm.
The husband has a very good friend in Kuwait who lived through the
invasion/occupation and spent a good portion of the time between the
occupation and liberation in Iraqi custody in Iraq.
According to Ahmed, the Iraqis transported a good amount of WMD into
Kuwait, some of which was hidden and only found after the fact. Ahmed,
knowing the Iraqis as well as he does, truly believes that WMD's will
be found years from now, when some goatherder trips over a trapdoor in
the desert. This is what he's seen in Kuwait in the intervening years:
they're still finding bits and pieces of Saddam's Kuwaiti stash, almost
thirteen years later.
Personally, I think the Marines are warm. Very warm. Let's hope they trip over that trapdoor sooner rather than later.

Posted by Kathy at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's currently snowing here in

It's currently snowing here in Cake Eater Land.


Posted by Kathy at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As I've mentioned in the

As I've mentioned in the past, the husband is a talented guy. One of
his many computer related talents is the cleaning and restoring of
computers their owners have thought were possibly done for. He's
managed to get quite a few back up and running. Most of the time these
computers crash because of their owner's idiotic surfing behavior. One
friend's laptop would not boot all. He didn't know what the
problem was, but before he went out and spent a boatload of moolah on a
new computer, he gave the husband a whack at fixing it. The husband,
after many frustrating hours, was able to get it back up and running.
The friend was amazed and wanted to know what the problem was. The
husband was blunt: "Your wife has been filling out online surveys and
the computer was completely overrun with data mining cookies as a
result." I'm assuming most people know what Ad-Aware is, but just in
case, it's a free program (you can download it here)
that cleans out data mining cookies that the IE "Tools" option doesn't
remove. The most cookies the husband has ever had Ad-Aware delete
before that was three hundred. The friend had 1200 data mining
cookies on his laptop. A new record was set: so many cookies had been
surreptitiously inserted that they had completely boggled the computer
they were intending to derive information from.
Suffice it to say, after a "friendly" chat with the husband, the
friend's wife no longer fills out any online surveys. Ad-Aware was the
latest and greatest tool for a long period of time. The only problem
with it? Well, as throrough as it is, it even misses stuff. This
summer, the husband loaded Spybot---the newest spyware detector---onto
my computer, but didn't set it up to run actively. Well, after having
few problems with data mining cookies because I'm just not that active
of a surfer, I got nailed. Wee bastard wasn't running properly and the
husband decided to take a look under the hood, so to speak. He ran
Ad-Aware and while he found only seven or eight cookies, they were the
nasty ones. He then set Spybot to run actively and I'm completely
dumbfounded by all that it's found. You see, it sends you a little
notification every time you hit a webpage and some anonymous bot tries
to insert a data mining cookie onto your computer. What's surprising
about all this is that the majority of notifications I receive are when
I'm trying to access a story from my Yahoo homepage. Or The Washington Post. Or The New York Times.
Or any number of other mainstream media sources. These are the places I
go to most on the web: I didn't know they were also the sites that
inserted the most data mining cookies onto my computer. To be fair
about it: I don't believe this is some MSM conspiracy. The husband
believes it's the ads these sites host that are trying to do the deed
and that, most likely, the site's administrators have no clue about all
of this. But's shocking. While I really don't know much
about these matters, well, I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend
that everyone download Spybot onto your computer, if you haven't
already. You can find it here.
Besides sending notifications, it clears off the spyware Ad-Aware can't
find. I realize it shouldn't be a pain to keep these things off your
hard drive. I completely agree with that statement, but unfortunately
that's not the world we live in. It's a lot of work, I know. And it's
time consuming, but you could ignore this and wonder why, like the
friend I wrote about above, your computer will no longer run. It's up
to you.

Posted by Kathy at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Veteran's Day By Father Denis

Veteran's Day By Father Denis Edward O'Brien USMC

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin
is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

"I will be a warrior so that my son may be a merchant, so that his son may be a poet.

--- John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

Thank you Vets! We'd be nowhere without you.

Posted by Kathy at 12:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've been having a wee

I've been having a wee bit of a traffic increase over the past couple of days. Some bloggers
have been nice enough to include me in their link-whoring efforts, even
after I slagged off on them, while some others have linked to pieces
I've written because they liked them.
Well, what I don't understand is this: why is it, whenever I carefully
craft a post and spend way
too much time on it in the process, is that post ignored. Yet the ones
I whip off, that I believe are very poorly written and perhaps not so
funny, are the ones that get complimented, linked and are said to be
I've been blogging for over a year now and I think I've got most of the
byzantine ins and outs figured out. Except for this. This I just don't understand.

Posted by Kathy at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Governor of The People's

The Governor of The People's Republic of Minnesota---a supposed free enterprise Republican---has just lost my vote for reelection in 2006.

Changes in the makeup of the Minnesota Legislature after last week's election may create more of a taste for statewide legislation banning smoking, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday that he would sign any smoking ban that came to his desk. Pawlenty had said earlier that he did not think such legislation would pass, but he acknowledged that the DFL's gain of 13 seats in the Minnesota House might alter the equation. "We'll have to wait and see how the Legislature addresses that, but if a bill does reach my desk I will sign it," he said. The Republican governor's comments came after a meeting in Willmar with DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson over issues looming in the legislative session. Johnson said the smoking ban is likely to be on the legislative agenda but could not tell how much support there might be for a ban -- either statewide or regionally -- in the Senate. He added, though, that he believed if such a ban were enacted, businesses and the hospitality industry would support a ban statewide as a "level playing field."
This has been a hot-potato issue lately here in the Cities. This summer, a city council member in St. Paul---a smoker---in a fit of magnimanity decided that he shouldn't be oppressing non-smokers in bars with his smoke. Supposedly, this was the slice through the Gordian Knot everyone had been waiting for, because the anti-smoking Nazis had been of the opinion that until one big city went for a ban, it wasn't worth their time to seriously push their agenda. Bloomington, where the Mall of Gomorrah resides, was the next to fall, then Minneapolis itself, where the city council decided to---ahem---pass their ban in a closed session, without allowing any business owners to speak against the ban. As you might imagine, the hospitality industry was up in arms about these bans, mainly because the respective city councils were sneaky and passed the bans quickly, with little to no dissent allowed. Minneapolis and St. Paul bar owners are up in arms because it's up to them to enforce the ban. You try getting a drunk not to fire up when they're in their cups, and you'll figure out that it's not an easy thing to do. But more importantly they're worried that they'll lose the money of smokers because they'll go to smoke-friendly suburbs to drink and eat. Yet, Pawlenty thinks that if the entire state goes smoke free, the hospitality industry will embrace such legislation because it will level the playing field. Now, if you hadn't already guessed I'm a smoker. It's a disgusting habit, I know. I'm not in denial about how unhealthy these things are for me. I also know they smell bad, which is why I don't fire up in other people's houses unless they give me leave to do so, which never happens. If I'm in a situation where I don't know if someone objects to the smoke, even in my own home, I will ask if they do mind and if they do, well, I won't smoke. I understand people's concerns about secondhand smoke, even if I don't necessarily agree with the research done on the issue to date. Yet I strive to be a considerate smoker. So do my friends who smoke. Some of them don't even smoke in their own houses because they want their non-smoker friends to feel comfortable there. However, I have noticed that nowadays the reason most people want a ban on smoking isn't because of the second-hand smoke considerations, which they really don't need to worry about anymore. There are plenty of smoke-free bars and restaurants around. They also don't need to worry about secondhand smoke because smoking, indeed, has been banned in most places in Minnesota and has been since 1975. It's called the Clean Indoor Air Act and it prohibits smokers from firing up indoors in public---and private---places of business. It also regulates how much seating must be available in restaurants for non-smoking sections, in bars and the like. And it works. Take it from me: if you want a smoke, unless you're in place with a bar you have to go outside to fire up. So, this isn't about smokers potentially giving people cancer via secondhand smoke, as that's already been taken care of. This is about the smell of cigarettes, pipes and cigars. But they'll use the cover of secondhand smoke to keep their noses from the faintest whiff of tobacco. Pawlenty has been an interesting governor, to be sure. When he was in the legislature, he was constantly fighting off the DFL's attempts at socialism. He had a rep, in other words and he used that rep when he decided to run for governor. I got the impression he was more of a libertarian Republican, someone who was tough on terrorism, yet was also a free-enterprise Republican, someone who believed regulation was strangling the economy of the state. But now it seems that's not really true. While I applauded his efforts during the bus driver's strike earlier this year, I wasn't really crazy about the education commissioner he appointed, who tried to overhaul all of the social studies and history textbooks in the state school system to books that pretty much didn't focus on anything but America, in essence, swinging the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum. Pawlenty has proven over time that he's got an agenda, and it's more about social conservatism and telling me how to live than it is about less regulation. His support of a state-wide smoking ban just proves the point. This move isn't about anything more than playing politics: he's got an agenda he wants passed through the legislature in the upcoming session and he's got more DFL'ers to deal with this time around: he's throwing them a bone to get them to cooperate on his agenda. Well, I for one, won't stand for it. I've had it with having my rights as a smoker consistently being thrown up for sacrifice because I'm an easy target. After all, this is the Uber-healthy state of Minnesota: we don't do things that are bad for ourselves so we'll tax the hell out of everyone that does something we consider to be bad. This is also why we don't allow anyone to sell liquor after eight o'clock on a weeknight, or at all on Sundays, because booze is bad for them. This is why we don't allow grocery stores to sell wine or beer, because someone might---gasp!---get crazy over the dinner table if they don't have to go to an actual liquor store, during the legally alloted time period, to purchase the stuff! Well, fuck that. I may live in Minnesota, but first and foremost I'm an American. If I want to kill myself with booze or cigarettes I'm allowed to do so. You can't save me from myself, assholes: it's not your right to interfere with my personal choices, especially when I go out of my way to make sure my behavior doesn't bother anyone else. I regulate myself. But it's not like that matters, right? You want me to quit. You've made that abundantly clear with your regulation: you're trying to change my behavior by baby-stepping your rules, thinking that if you introduce change slowly, I won't notice. Well, I've noticed and the buck stops here, bub. I've had it with being considerate. It's turned me into nothing but a doormat because anti-smoking Nazis assume that, since I'm considerate, I won't mind one more tax or one more regulation on my "bad" behavior. They think I'll just adapt my behavior to their whims, because I'm in the minority. Screw it. No more Mrs. Nice. If you, the State of Minnesota, want me to adhere to your socialist regime by quitting, you'd better actually behave as if you want me to do just that by ending your reliance on the taxes I pay whenever I buy a pack. Would that be hard to do? Nope. I don't think so. But we all know government has an issue with ending a stream of income that they've come to love, so it's not like that's gonna happen anytime in the near future. If you, the State of Minnesota, want me to quit smoking my coffin nails, but still want me to go to bars and restaurants because it's good for the economy, well, you can go and take a leap off a cliff. I'll stay at home. After all, staying home is good for my economy. I can cook a five star meal---why do I need to go out and have one served to me? I make a damn good martini---why do I need to go out and pay eight bucks for a drink that costs less when I make it? I can entertain friends with style and panache, thank you ever so much, so why shouldn't I have more parties at home than meeting up with friends at a bar or a restaurant? I won't buy my ciggies from your state. I'll go to Wisconsin or Iowa and start buying them there in bulk. Or I can buy them over the internet, and at much cheaper prices, too. If you think I'll voluntarily send in my tax payment, like I'm supposed to do with the sales tax on catalog purchases, you're nuts. Yet if all this fails to convince you that my money is just as good as a non-smoker's, I could move to a state where they don't believe in socialism, like Texas, and take my income---and all the taxes that are derived from it---elsewhere. That's freedom. Freedom of choice. And Pawlenty, someone whom I thought was all about free choice, is playing politics and has aligned himself with people who think I shouldn't have any because I'm a bad, bad smoker! Well, I guess he doesn't need my vote then when it comes time for him to run for reelection in two years.
Posted by Kathy at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, that last post took

Ok, that last post took TWENTY FREAKIN' MINUTES TO GO THROUGH! Let's
see if that's the average time today, or if that was just an anomaly.
I don't have all damn day long to do this stuff.

Posted by Kathy at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

protein wisdom's take on the

protein wisdom's take
on the political correctness smothering Holland in the wake of Theo Van
Gogh's murder by Islamic terrorists/murderers/fuckers:

Root causes, you know. Mr Van Gogh was evidently not
sensitive enough to the rights of Muslims to dehumanize and degrade
women. And in a multicultural society, those who are so intolerant are
just asking to have their heads sawed nearly off‚€¶ Bill Quick
concludes: ‚€œThese people are doomed. The Eurosocialist cancer has
eaten entirely the heart of Europe. And the testicles too, of
course.‚€ Perhaps. But before all is said and done, I suspect we‚€™ll
hear of at least a few instances where Dutch doctors are called upon to
remove pointy-tipped wooden shoes from the ass of some Imam or other‚€¶

One can only hope Jeff is correct and they'll wake the fuck up sometime in the near future.

Posted by Kathy at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robert at the Butchers: {...}I

Robert at the Butchers:

{...}I always wear a coat and tie whilst traveling. And, although we don't dress for dinner regularly, we at least do so for special days such as birthdays and holidays. Mark you, the trouble with taking this stance is that people automatically assume I believe there is no place for casual clothes. Of course, this is utter nonsense. Why, when I'm gardening, I'll even go so far as to loosen my tie and wear pennyloafers instead of dress shoes. Once this summer, I even took off my jacket! Seriously, tho, the point is that there is a time for formality (e.g., Church, my law practice, special occassions) and a time for lack of it (e.g., ball games, pub crawls, sex). Some people believe that we benefit by blurring this distinction. I believe just the opposite.
Go read the whole thing. Now, Mom has relaxed about being dressed up at family dinners and the like, because even she realizes it better to wear the comfy pants with the elastic waistband when gorging on turkey at Thanksgiving, but it still bugs the crap out of her whenever one of us comes off a plane looking like casual death warmed over. You see, she started flying back when flying was a big deal: she talks about wearing your best outfit, replete with hats and gloves, and treating the occasion as if it were something special. She still wears a nice outfit when she flies, even if the hats and gloves have gone by the wayside, and she still sighs a little sigh of disappointment whenever her children reject her beliefs in this area. Having been known in the past to roll off a plane dressed in a pair of cut-offs and a ragged T-shirt, I have since rejected this line of action. Not because I believe society is going down the toilet because we're all a bunch of slobs, but because when I slap on warpaint and maybe wear something that is coordinated I've realised you get better service. It's completely a subjective thing, but if you take some care with your appearance when flying, airline employees think you're more important than you actually are. It's the same thing with matching luggage: if you come to the counter with a boatload of mixmatched bags, they won't treat you nicely. I learned this from the travel editor of the Today show. The minute we got matching luggage, airline employees started treating us better. I'm completely serious, too. Even though it's matching luggage from Target, it makes an impression. But for the rest of Robert's post, well, as much as I can understand despising informality, that is the culture we find ourselves in. He's fighting a losing battle. While I would prefer being called "Mrs. Nelson" until I give someone leave to call me "Kathy," it never happens. I practice this in reverse and I'm forever getting wierd looks from people because I choose not assume a first-name-basis relationship. We're in an in-between time: that's the way I was raised, but it's not the way people operate. I would never call any of my parents' friends by their first names, even today, now that I'm an adult. It would just be really, really odd to do so, because that's what both parties---them and me---expect. Yet, whenever I'm introduced to someone's children, well, I'm not "Mrs. Nelson," I'm "Kathy." And, I will admit, that does bug me a bit. So, what to do? I find myself going with the flow and avoiding the wierd looks. The only place I've ever been where informality was not an option was England: no one called me Ms. Nelson. It was Mrs. Nelson this, Mrs. Nelson that. Not one single person at the hotel---from the concierge, to the doorman, to the waiter in the restaurant---lapsed into informality while I was there. After having everyone assume the usuage of Ms. here in the states lest someone get offended by being shunted into their patriarchical place, it was quite refreshing. And just a wee bit shocking, too. I did a doubletake when I arrived at the hotel the doorman told a bellboy to "collect Mrs. Nelson's luggage." Now, in the States, the first thing you're told in customer service class is never to assume anything. I could have been the husband's mistress for all they knew, and because of their lack of knowledge, they would refuse to treat me any better because of their refusal to make the assumption that I was, indeed, the husband's wife. Even after it would be made clear that I was the husband's wife, well, then it would still be important to use "Ms." instead of "Mrs." That's just what you're taught when you're in customer service: never make assumptions about anything. Problems arise when you do. For instance, one day I waited on a lady at the coffee shop. I could tell she was over fifty. Not to be unkind about it, but despite a head full of dyed red hair, she had the lines to prove it. She also had two small children with her. I made the mistake of complimenting her on her "lovely grandchildren." Whoops. She freaked and told me off, yelling loudly that, "They're my KIDS! NOT my GRANDCHILDREN!" Then there was the time that one of my regular customers went off on me after I told her that she looked particularly nice that day. And I wasn't just blowing smoke: she looked great that day. Not like my sincerity cut it with her. "Well, Kathy, you just never know, do you? My son killed himself, my husband's on the brink of leaving me and my life is just shit! I may look good today, but my life is pure hell!" See what I mean? You just can't win. Where the cashier at Robert's Safeway made the assumption that informality was the norm, Robert, while being quaint in his demand for formality, still made her realize it was never a good thing to assume. For every nice person you get in the field of customer service, there are five more who have had the niceness beaten out of them over experiences just like the ones I've had. Perhaps too much niceness is a bad thing: it leads people to expect certain things that servers just have no way of knowing. I don't know. What I do know is that there were many days I felt like adopting the persona of a snotty French waiter and just treating everyone like shit because then maybe then I wouldn't get my head shouted off for being nice. Life is just different nowadays, and you have to roll with the punches, otherwise you'll be nothing but frustrated.
Posted by Kathy at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's just like I always

It's just like I always suspected...I'm going to purgatory!

"You have escaped damnation and made it to Purgatory, a
place where the dew of repentance washes off the stain of sin and girds
the spirit with humility. Through contrition, confession, and
satisfaction by works of righteousness, you must make your way up the
mountain. As the sins are cleansed from your soul, you will be
illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, and you will join other souls,
smiling and happy, upon the summit of this mountain. Before long you
will know the joys of Paradise as you ascend to the ethereal realm of

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
Whenever I whined when I was a kid, my parents were forever telling me
to, "offer up your suffering for the poor souls in purgatory," which
was inevitably shortened over the years to, "Offer it up!" All of the
trials I've gone through during my life have, undoubtedly, freed a few
souls from the in-between place. There had better be some quid pro quo
action going on when I make it there.

Posted by Kathy at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fat ass is rabble rousing

Fat ass is rabble rousing again.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Michael Moore is planning a sequel to "Fahrenheit 9/11," his polemic against the Bush administration, to be released about the time of the next presidential campaign, a spokeswoman for his distributor says. The sequel, dubbed "Fahrenheit 9/11 and 1/2," will revisit the same issues as Moore's earlier documentary, which he repeatedly said was aimed at swaying the outcome of the presidential race against President Bush. "We want to get the cameras rolling now and have it ready in two (to) three years," Moore told Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd. "Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election), and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth."
In related news, a woman went after Moore with a wheel of triple-cream brie, and dared him to eat it.

The brie, packaged under the brand name Explorateur,
is roughly the size of a tricycle wheel and, depending upon the
fluctuations in the local cheese market, costs roughly $15 a pound.
According to eyewitnesses, when presented with the brie, Moore
immediately stopped preaching and his eyes took on a look of
lustfulness. Reports are unclear as to whether drool escaped his mouth
and clung to his poorly kept beard. Immediately, however, he grabbed
the wheel of brie from the woman and shoved it whole down his monstrous
gullet, waxed paper wrapping and all. According to the local medical
examiner, Moore dropped dead because, "{...}his arteries staged a full
on rebellion and Moore lost."
Authorities have ruled his death an accident and the woman was free to
go. Her name is being withheld to protect her privacy.

Posted by Kathy at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Am currently listening to this

Am currently listening to this
album and the song "World On Fire" is playing.
I'm sure you know who Sarah is. She's responsible for that "Aida" song
that was on radio overkill for a time, while everyone wondered about
her sexual orientation because she was singing about a chick. I've been
listening to her since the mid-90's, so I've been a fan for a while.
I've never seen her live, although Mr. H. tells me she's quite
Apparently, the record company gave Sarah $150,000 to make a video for
"World on Fire." Sarah used only $15,000 for the video.Go watch and see what Sarah did with the rest of the money.


Posted by Kathy at 12:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...that is the question. Bridget

...that is the question.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason is being released on Friday and I'm of two minds about going to see it. I can't quite decide.

Here's the trailer.

Now, I'm a big Bridget fan. I love Bridget. Yet, I must qualify and say that I adore the Bridget from the book, but not
the Bridget from the movie. How Helen Fielding managed to massacre her
own work while adapting it for the screen, I don't know. But she did.
They were two different characters entirely.
The Bridget from the book is a hapless sort of creature. She's nice
enough, and bright, if not a little slow on the uptake, but she's also
resourceful and can eventually deal with problems long after they
arise. The Bridget of the movie, well...she was someone to laugh at, rather than with.
One of the hooks of the book was that everyone had, for instance, at
one point in time or another, gotten so drunk that they'd shot their
mouth off and had regretted it the next day. Or were worried that
they'd die alone and their body would be found three weeks later, half
eaten by an Alsatian. Or that work demands would terrify them into
glugging cold sake whilst wrapped up in a comforter. Or that they'd be
caught wearing comfy panties in a romantic situation. Or that the guy
they were with would think their thighs were huge. All of the
insecurities women invariably feel or have felt were on display in the
book and humor resulted because you could relate. In the movie, well,
the insecurities weren't the high point, they seemed to be considered
silly (which, let's face it, they are, but they're still there,
nonetheless) Bridget's invariably idiotic way of working around them
was where the comedy resulted. It's a subtle difference, but it ruined
the movie for me. The Bridget of the movie was an idiot who made me
cringe rather than laugh. I couldn't find a reason to root for her,
because she was, well, so stupid.

I've read the book more times than I can count. I've only read Edge of Reason
once because I took it to London with me when I visited and my friend
Mel hadn't read it yet, so I left it for her. Although, she was rather
upset that the American edition had Bridget's weight in pounds, rather
than stones, but that's really neither here nor there. The second book
was more of the first, and it was delightful. But, I'm worried about
the movie, because I don't want the second movie to be more of the
first. Helen is back on the case with Edge
and if it's possible to massacre your own book for the movie version,
well, she'll do it. Again. And that I could not possibly stand.
Yet...Colin's in it. How could I not go and see him reprise his role as
Mark Darcy, well, I don't know. But I'm tempted to just stay at home
come Friday. Now, the question would be, am I the only one who didn't
like the first movie? And is dreading the second?

Posted by Kathy at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...with Blogger, that is. Over

...with Blogger, that is.
Over the past couple of days, I cannot tell you how many times I tried
to post only to have the Blogger servers crap out on me during
publishing. It's a bit frustrating when you're trying to write and post
stuff that's, you know, timely
only to have Blogger time out during the publishing of said posts.
Highly annoying. I realize beggars can't be choosers, but damnit, I've
about had it with this service. I cannot even begin to detail all the
times that this has happened. And not only in the past couple of days,
either. Yesterday, when I could get the post window to come up in the
first place, I would labor over a post, only to have it get stuck in
the publishing process. This, of course, does nothing to describe my
frustration and anger when a post completely disappears, which happens
often. What exactly does Blogger need to make this service run more
effectively? Are they not realizing there are issues with this? Is it a
cash-flow issue? It can't possibly be that. Google, which owns this
munificent service, has gone public in a big way: they've got more
moolah than they know what to do with. Apparently, it hasn't occurred
to them that they should---duh---be spending money on SERVERS! Arrrrgh.
Of course, all of this is moot if this post doesn't make it through.
Which it probably won't.
Jane! Get me OFF this crazy thing!

Posted by Kathy at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Expect to see this on

Expect to see this on one of the myriad CSI's sometime in the near future.

Head and Shoulders, dude. Seriously. It works.

Posted by Kathy at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

See? Huffing glue really can

See? Huffing glue really can make the impossible happen:

The Llamabutchers are celebrating their 1st anniversary of blogging.
Go over and YIPYIPYIP at 'em.
And on a serious note(well as serious as I'm able to get on a Saturday
morning)congratulations guys!

Posted by Kathy at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

God Love 'Em. China, flushed

God Love 'Em.

China, flushed with pride over its booming economy and
successful Olympic bid, will add another feather to its cap when it
plays host to the fourth annual World Toilet Summit, to kick off later
this month. "We are quickening the pace of toilet construction and the
international conference is being held at a time China has already
realized unprecedented achievements," Yu Debin, deputy director of
Beijing's Bureau of Tourism told reporters on Friday. Beijing is known
for its imperial parks and ancient temples, but along with sites like
the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace the city's toilets have gained
notoriety in their own right, known more for stink than sanitation.
Most of China's public toilets are squat-style pits with no running
water, toilet paper or hand washing facilities. Officials aim to use
the summit to help change that, with workshops on such topics as
"Toilet Management and Hygiene," "Energy-Saving Measures" and "The
Humanized Toilet."

There are times, far and few between I will admit, that I just flat-out love communism.

The absurdity of it is just too sublime to ignore.

Posted by Kathy at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

If you take your coffee

If you take your coffee with half and half, keep a spare can of
evaporated milk in the pantry. When you run out of half and half and
are too lazy to change out of your jammies in the morning to go and get
some, pop open that can of evaporated milk and use it. It works

Posted by Kathy at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Please show this post to

Please show this post to
I would be very interested in knowing if he still thinks it was a good
idea to keep Christi's and my shins unbruised, while Mike's were
allowed to take a beating.
*No, my father doesn't read my blog. Mom does, but Dad thinks I'm too left wing for his tastes.

Posted by Kathy at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brilliant. Just simply brilliant.

Brilliant. Just simply brilliant.

Posted by Kathy at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MPR is poor, right? There

MPR is poor, right?
There must be a reason why they go on air every quarter with their
beg-a-thon's, right?
This would be why they interrupt perfectly good programming with their
guilt-a-thon's, right?
Ok, so since we've established that MPR is poor, one would wonder why
they've kicked out what I would think is bou-cou bucks to advertise
their election coverage on coffee clutches. I think that's a reasonable
question, don't you?

Posted by Kathy at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UK's Daily Mirror front

UK's Daily Mirror
front page for today. Sorry it's a bit fuzzy, but I had to resize to
get it to a size where all people wouldn't be reaching for their
readers to see it.
I have one suggestion for the Mirror's editors: why don't you stick with reporting about coke-snorting soccer players and wife beaters and leave the important stuff to other, more reputable newspapers. I may not have agree with them anymore than I do your newspaper, but at least they have the credibility you sorely lack.

Posted by Kathy at 11:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

As in, "We will verily

As in, "We will verily praise the Lord that Qwest finally sorted our DSL issues."
As a side note: the male protagonist in the novel is a Brit, as a
result of channelling him for several hours a day, I start adopting his
accent (not too posh, but not EastEnders either)
and speech patterns. Some words and phrases that sound funny coming out
of an American mouth that I've been saying anyway: Bloody hell
Filthy little bugger
Don't get your knickers in a twist

Go here if you're in
any doubt about what these phrases actually mean.
Personally, I'm of the opinion that when an American uses any of these
words it's pretentious as hell. We don't use "bloody" as a descriptor.
We just don't. That word, in that usage, is strictly a British thing.
If you do happen to be American and happen to use that word, well, you
sound as if you a. want to become Bridget Jones or b. are watching too
much BBC America. I will admit, they have better slang than we
Americans do, but still...
It's quite pathetic really. Alas, until I can boot Paul from my head
permanently, I don't see a way out.

Posted by Kathy at 11:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For the faint of heart,

For the faint of heart, be forewarned that the following is a rant. Skip on by if you so choose.

Oh, for the love of all that is good and holy, Andrew, quit with the speculation about what's happening in Fallujah!

Everyone should quit speculating about what's happening in Fallujah.

And, yes, Wretchard,
that means even you should quit.
To explain, I don't have any issues with anyone spouting off after a
battle is over with. Pull your miniature sand table out of the garage,
throw on your Napoleon waistcoat, slap your three cornered hat on your
head and move your miniature soldiers around as much as you want. Chat
all you want about the results of the battle. I would expect nothing
less from any of you...but do it afterward.
Not during. For God's sake, there are men on the ground in Fallujah
whose lives are on the line. Their lives are wholly dependent upon
there being a proper plan that will not only save them from being
slaughtered, but will also allow them to achieve their objectives.
Worrying and criticizing and rampantly speculating about that plan
while the battle is in process does not do those men any good. While I don't doubt your intelligence or your ability to get things right, I do doubt that---ahem---YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION THAT THEY DO.
Hence, you're automatically off the mark from the get go. Just. Shut.
Just so I don't get a bevy of replies and emails telling me that I'm
restricting someone's freedom of speech, know that I'd say this to one
of those talking head generals on CNN or FOX. I would have absolutely
no problem with telling some retired four star General to cram his
comments up his arsehole. So, you should know, I really don't have a
problem saying this to a blogger or two.
I come by this opinion honestly, if you were wondering. My mother's
side of the family is very military. In fact, I have a first cousin
who's (currently) a two star General. He may be stationed at the
Pentagon nowadays, but before that he was stationed in Tampa for a few
years, and was also deployed to Qatar for a while. I have copies of
pictures he took of Saddam's Baghdad Palace bathroom---you know, the
one with the golden fixtures that were in the news. In case all of
these CV clues slipped past you, allow me to spell it out for you: he
was on Tommy Franks' CENTCOM staff during the war and he's mentioned on
page 413 of Tommy's book, American Soldier.
One night during the runup to the invasion, the entire family, having
been tipped off, turned on the NBC Nightly News to see Tom Brokaw
interviewing him. Now, my cousin is a smart man. You don't get to be as
high up in the military as he is without being canny as all get out.
Whenever I see him, do I dare pipe up and speculate about the military
and how it's run? No. Not anymore I don't. Why? Because when I did so
in the past, his general response was to smile and then to inform
me---nicely, of course---that I'm full of shit and that no matter how
well informed I thought I might be, I didn't have all the information.
Because he did have all the information. He was in charge
of the information, for God's sake and he would know. As you might
imagine, I have a tendency to keep my mouth shut anymore because I
don't want to look like an ass.
This is what bugs me about anyone's rampant speculation about what is or isn't going on in Iraq. I know Sully, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, does not have all the information, even if he is reading Stratfor.
Taking a few courses at Harvard that cover Clausewitz does not a
military expert make. Wretchard, while being supportive of the troops
and the war, doesn't have all the information. Even well-informed
speculation is precisely that: speculation. And these are times when
it's dangerous to speculate. There are men and women on the ground in
Iraq; they are beseiged, not by the Iraqis or by the insurgents, but
rather by the media. I would hazard a guess that the attacks that hurt
the most are the ones that come from the American media---of which the
blogosphere, for better or worse, is a part---who do nothing but second
guess their work. While I'm not denying there is a place for legitimate
criticism of the handling of this war, I will stick with my assertion
that until we know the whole story of Iraq (which, dare I mention it,
the media isn't giving us) we have no business speculating on what is
going on over there, let alone making any judgment calls about what
should be done. We don't know. And it hurts our soldiers on the ground
to be second-guessed incessantly by their own media. It doesn't matter
if the respective blogger is pro or anti war: they simply don't have
all the facts to wargame this pig in real time. Hence, all the
hand-wringing over this battle, makes bloggers---and the mainstream
media---sound more like a nervous mother on prom night, waiting for her
kids to return home, imaginging all the horrible things that could
befall them, rather than strategic analysts of the first order. Not
unlike myself when chatting with my cousin, they don't have all the
information. So the best course of action would be to shut the hell up.
Let the soldiers do their job, then when it's all said and done with,
you can throw your rampant speculation out there.

Posted by Kathy at 11:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Political correctness at the playground.

Political correctness at the playground.

{...}Deirdre Faegre was suspended for a week after repeatedly disobeying school officials who told her not to perform gymnastic stunts during lunchtime. "Our first concern is the safety of all children," San Jose-Edison Academy Principal Denise Patton told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Patton said Deirdre could accidentally strike another student, or injure herself, and other children could get hurt trying to imitate Deirdre, who has been doing gymnastics for five years.{...}
Sigh. One must wonder what they think of round-off back handsprings (someone might get smooshed in the run needed to get the required force) or somersaults (she might give herself internal injuries)or aerials (Jesus, Mary and Joseph! She didn't use her hands to land! She could break a leg!). When I was in school, we had big steel bars on the playground, placed there specifically for the use of gymnastically-minded students. We had this one maneuver that we called the flip. Basically, you pulled yourself up on the bar, much like a gymnast would on the parallel bars, by swinging one leg up through your arms to pull yourself up. When you'd accomplished that maneuver, you hung upside down from the bars by your knees, your arms floating free, then you'd start swinging. The ultimate goal of this exercise was to get enough momentum going so that, at your highest swinging point, you would release your legs' hold on the bar, and---if you were lucky--- you'd land on your feet after flying for a small distance. Every single girl in my class could do this. I eventually got the hang of it, even after I'd landed facedown, flat on the ground, a couple of times and managed to knock the wind right out of myself. If you weren't careful when you were walking around the bars, you'd get a foot straight to the face. That happened to me a couple of times. And guess what? I didn't die. No one told us to stop doing this because we could hurt ourselves or someone else. They never told us to stop jumping from the swings, either. If we hurt ourselves, well, we were told to shake it off. I went to parochial school: our school nurse showed up a few times a semester to check on ears and eyes and that sort of thing. We had no full-time medical staff. Maybe, if you were swelling or something like that, they'd send you to Mrs. Sundell, the school secretary, who'd give you a bandaid or would send you down to the kitchen or the teacher's lounge for a bag of ice. Surprisingly enough, minor injuries aside, no one died and no one sued the school for not being responsible enough. In case you were wondering, I have two nieces who currently attend my old grade school. I know for a fact they still have those bars on the playground, and I know the girls still use the bars the way we did, almost twenty years ago. And my nieces, God love them, managed to learn how to do "The Flip," as it's still called, much earlier than I did. Childhood must really suck if you can't do stupid stuff.
Posted by Kathy at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack all comes down to all comes down to credibility. As in, is the mainstream media credible enough to tell the story of Falljuah?

I don't think they are. Hence, you should go and read this.

Posted by Kathy at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ok, so here's what you

Ok, so here's what you need to know about actually cooking the bird.
Forgive me if this is lacking some of the humor of earlier posts: I
woke up late and I'm afraid someone might
actually be depending upon me for their turkey cooking instructions and
I don't want to leave them hanging while I fret over making it funny.
Not like that's going to happen, but just in case...
First, basting is important, but instead of fussing with the drippings
in the bottom of the pan, get a chicken buillon cube out and mix it
with one cup of boiling water. If you didn't know, this is how you make
quickie chicken broth. Now, some people swear by using the drippings.
That's fine, if
you've got enough. If you have purchased a smaller turkey, chances are
you probably won't. Turkey's are also leaner nowadays and just don't
give off copious amounts of drippings. Hence, the chicken broth. This
way, whatever drippings you have left at the bottom of the pan you will
be able to use for gravy, rather than basting. General rule of thumb:
try and baste once an hour. Second, leave the bird alone for the most
part. You put the thing in the oven to cook. Let it do so. Third, when
you have about forty-five minutes left on the clock, take off the
tinfoil chapeau. The moonbattery your turkey had previously has now
been cured. Think of this as the final stage in the de-brainwashing
process: just think of Mulder when he finally rid himself of his
delusional theories. That's what you're looking for. Now keep an eye on
the skin while the foil is off. If it begins to get too dark, why, slap
that foil back on for the last few minutes of cooking. It just all
depends how crispy you like your turkey skin to be. Fourth, how to tell
when the turkey is done, paricularly since you told me that I didn't
need that handy-dandy pop-up button to inform me of that momentous
occasion? Well, it's quite simple: when you can shake hands with the turkey, it's done.
Take the end of the turkey leg in your fingers and see if you can give
it a shake. If you can, take it out of the oven. If you can't, keep it
in until you can. Pretty simple stuff. If you're hypernervous and don't
trust me, pull out your meat thermometer and insert it deeply into the
place between the leg and the breast: when it reads 180 degrees, your
bird is DONE. And that's it. When you remove the turkey from the oven,
remove the stuffing from both the neck and the main cavity: place it in
a bowl, cover with foil and keep warm for serving. If you're nervous
about the stuffing not being cooked enough, zap it in your microwave
for a minute or longer. That should get it up to temperature and cook
off any nasties that might be lingering in there. Pitch the apple and
the garlic cloves: I'm sure the apple halves are mush and unless one of
your guests will eat up whole garlic cloves, they probably don't want
them in their dressing. If you're making mashed potatoes, you might
want to recycle the garlic cloves by squeezing them out of their skins
(if you can't do this, well, don't bother because they haven't cooked
enough) and beating them into the potatoes. It's up to you if you want
to add a little turkey-garlic flavor into your potatoes. Then, let the
bird sit before you start carving. If you need to know how to carve,
well, go here and watch the video.
This is a pretty low-maintenence turkey. It's not gourmet by any means,
but it will please your guests. When you cook one at Christmas (because
of course your guests will demand that you do, now that you've proved
yourself a reliable turkey provider) you can get adventurous and try
glazes or different spices. But most importantly, enjoy cooking your
bird. Don't stress out. Like Mom said, it's pretty hard to goof up
whilst cooking a turkey. If you have questions, put 'em in the comments
and I'll try to answer. Finally---HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Kathy at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogger finally let me post.

Blogger finally let me post.
Don't quite know whether that's a triumph or not. I suppose we'll be
able to judge that when/if this post actually makes it through the
publication stage.

Posted by Kathy at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

...and think it's the greatest

...and think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, you might want to know that the RIAA and the MPAA are still trying to cram that worthless piece o' legislation---the
Internet Property Protection Act---through the lame duck congress. Why,
are they trying to push it through now, you ask? Well, Orrin Hatch, the
distinguished gentleman from freakin' Utah and a champion of this bill,
is losing his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee to Arlen Specter,
who has very different views about this sort of thing.

The Senate might vote on HR2391, the Intellectual
Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge
could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players
and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The
bill would also undo centuries of "fair use" -- the principle that
gives Americans the right to use small samples of the works of others
without having to ask permission or pay.
The bill lumps together several pending copyright bills including
HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, which would criminally
punish a person who "infringes a copyright by ... offering for
distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard
of the risk of further infringement." Critics charge the vague language
could apply to a person who uses the popular Apple iTunes music-sharing
application. The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip
objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in
films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed
language, viewers would not be allowed to use software or devices to
skip commericals or promotional announcements "that would otherwise be
performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the
motion picture," like the previews on a DVD.
The proposed law also
includes language from the Pirate Act (S2237), which would permit the
Justice Department to file civil lawsuits against alleged copyright

The basic gist of this whole thing: everything we, the technology
users, hold near and dear to our hearts is on the chopping block. As I
understand it, Bloggers could be screwed: no more excerpts of articles
because it would violate fair use. That little bit up there that I
excerpted from the Wired
article wouldn't be there if this bill is passed and signed. Anything
you would purchase on ITunes would be copyright infringement, even
though you legally purchased it, simply because it's a file sharing
service. And for the Tivo users, no more skipping through the commercials.
While I don't own a Tivo, I find the notion that the MPAA and the RIAA
(not my favorite organization)are throwing their entire arsenal to get
this thing passed revolting. Why they don't see they're fighting a
losing battle, I haven't the foggiest. Piracy cuts into their profits,
I know, but damn!
Why don't they realize that the reason this hurts so much is because
their business models suck? They're monoliths. Dinosaurs. They have no
clue. They believe it's more productive in the long run to lobby
congress to ram through Draconian legislation banning this sort of
behavior, rather than being clever and adopting it into their business.
It's not going to work. People will come up with a way around these
laws, like they always do. Enterprising individuals will come up with
hacks for Tivos that will enable the user to skip through the
commercials. I can already get a hack for my DVD player that will make
it region-free, enabling me to work around the movie industry's
worldwide regulation that decrees I can only watch Michael Mann's shitty expanded edition of Last of the Mohicans rather
than the theatrical version that's out in the UK and Australia, why
should Tivo be any different in this regard? The minute this
legislation goes through, I can guarantee you someone, somewhere, will
suss out a way around it. Nothing's foolproof, after all. Look at the
recent history of file-sharing for some clues as to what will happen
with Tivos. The RIAA and the MPAA cracked down on services like Napster
and the Gnutella network, which has enabled the joy (and I really mean
that) that is Bit Torrent, which is virtually impossible to crack. It's not going to work.

For every move the MPAA and RIAA make, the hackers make a countermove that essentially nullifies it. The information wants to be free.
As I see it, it's a losing battle for the MPAA and RIAA: throwing gobs
of money at the problem only makes the lawyers rich. If they were
smart, they'd rework their system entirely and try to figure out
something new. Alas, however, they won't because they're too stupid to
realize they don't have control of the game anymore. The consumer does.
And alienating the people who pay your bills is not a good long-term
strategy, capisce? {h/t: Techdirt}

Posted by Kathy at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Despite the WaPo's alarmist take

Despite the WaPo's alarmist take on all the hubbub at the CIA, I agree with the Weekly Standard's Stephen F. Hayes.

ON NOVEMBER 5, 2004, a top aide to new CIA Director Porter Goss warned the associate deputy director of counterintelligence about unauthorized leaks to the media. It was an admonition that might be considered unnecessary: secrecy is a hallmark of the agency and, in any case, such leaks are often against the law. But several officials bristled at the forewarning and after a series of confrontations the deputy director of Operations, Stephen R. Kappes, offered his resignation as a protest. How do we know about all of this? The details were leaked and appeared Saturday on the front page of the Washington Post. Both the Post and the New York Times ran follow-up stories on Sunday. That evening, CBS News anchor John Roberts was already suggesting a failure, asking reporter Joie Chen, "What went wrong?" And so we have, three months into Porter Goss's tenure at the agency, a full-blown war between the Bush administration and the CIA. In fact, this war has been underway for years but only one side--the CIA--has been fighting. The White House response to this latest assault will be an important sign of its willingness to gut the rotten bureaucracy at the CIA. {...}The reporting consists mainly of a one-sided chronology of the dispute over media leaks and a collection of unsourced and unsubstantiated personal smears of the Goss team. As for substance, the Post reported on Saturday that former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin believes top Goss aide Patrick Murray "was treating senior officials disrespectfully." The article continues: "Current and retired senior managers have criticized Goss, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, for not interacting with senior managers and for giving Murray too much authority over day-to-day operations." The Post article from Sunday replowed much of the same ground. It added one new wrinkle: Goss has not yet made time to meet with four former senior CIA officials. (These weren't just any officials. According to the article, "the four senior officials represent nearly two decades of experience leading the Directorate of Operations under both Republican and Democratic presidents." The not-so-subtle implication is that Goss was unreasonable for failing to meet with the leaders. Was he? According to yet another anonymous source in the Post piece on Sunday, the group didn't want to talk so much as they wanted to lecture. The former officials "wanted to talk as old colleagues and tell him to stop what he was doing the way he was doing it." After hundreds of words from the Post we still have very little idea of what, exactly, Goss is doing that has caused so much heartburn at the agency. But if he's aggressively reforming the bureaucracy, he should most certainly not stop what he is doing. In fact, the concern among critics of the agency is that Goss faces a nearly impossible job and will not do nearly enough to change the dysfunctional culture of the agency.
While Hayes' critique of the WaPo article once again shows off the WaPo's inside the beltway bias, as the reporter seems to fret more about losing valuable leaks if everyone resigns, it confirms the suspicions I had when I read the piece on Friday: Goss is cleaning house. And he doesn't really care how he does it, or who gets their noses out of joint in the meantime. Good. It's about freakin' time someone showed those entrenched mandarins the door. What's really amazing about the WaPo piece, however, is that the guys who are resiging are the same men who dropped the ball on 9/11. They're they same men who dropped the ball on WMD in Iraq. They're the same men who apparently can't find their collective ass even when it's handed to them on a silver platter. Why, I'll even bet a few of them were on staff when the Soviet Union fell in August of 1991. Why, my devoted Cake Eater readers, are these resignations a sign of "turbulence" at the CIA? These guys should have been shown the door ages ago. If this was any other agency in Washington, the media would have been calling for their heads eons ago. If any other bureaucrat in Washington was pitching a fit over being able to leak information, and resigning over being called on the carpet for their illegal behavior, the media and Congress would be going after them left and right. Yet, surprisingly, they're only bugging out now, after their protector, Tenet, left. And it's supposedly a bad thing that these jerks are leaving. Hmmmmm. Makes you wonder, doesn't it, if Hayes is right and the WaPo is more interested in protecting the few sources at Langley who provide them with information than it is with reporting the whole story. Which leads to the next question: how is, what I believe to be, the imminent and monstrous shakeup at the CIA going to be reported over the coming months? How much is the media going to hamper the changes that Goss is obviously undertaking simply because they're afraid of losing what little access they have? Has the WaPo set the tone for the coverage of this event with this series of articles, or is Goss going to be given a fair shot at reforming an agency which the media has done nothing but criticize since 9/11? UPDATE: Jeff G. throws in his two cents.

UPDATE II: Jonathan Last disagrees with his Weekly Standard
compadre about whether all the hubbub is actually an indicator that
Goss is, indeed, cleaning house. Last has some valid insights, but I
completely disagree with his point that Goss need not piss off/clear
out all the entrenched bureaucrats to force the CIA to run efficiently,
citing FBI Director Muller's reform of the FBI as an example of what a
"skilled executive" can accomplish. Ah, nope. Sorry. That one's not
going to fly.
Muller took advantage of 9/11 in a way that Tenet was never forced to
do. He kept his job, and was never made to pay for the agency's
mistakes. Muller, however, took over the FBI in the days before 9/11:
no one in their right mind would ever slam him for the bureau's
mistakes, yet he took responsibility all the same and got to work.
Skill had very little to do with it, I believe, but more a thought that
if he goofed, his ass would be on the chopping block. For some unknown
reason, the CIA is cut more slack than the FBI. The FBI's spectacular
bungles over the past ten years have brought the bureau's vulnerability
to the fore. Muller knew this and acted accordingly.
The CIA and its employees, however, have never been called on the
carpet for all their goofs. They always seem to get away with it
because "they weren't funded well enough," or "their hands were tied
because of operating procedures," etc. The bureaucrats are too well
entrenched, and I truly believe that viper's pit has to be cleared out.
Goss, to my mind, knows this as well and he's using Patrick Murray to
do his dirty work. This way he gets to stay out of the fray and will be
able to lead when his time comes.

Posted by Kathy at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No, I'm not dead. I'm

No, I'm not dead. I'm still alive. And I've actually decided to grace
you with my presence for a little while.
As listed in the post below, I was very busy with the book...until
about Friday. Then the DSL went out. We have no internet access at our
house right now. As you can imagine, this is driving the husband nuts
(Mr. I Spend 15+ hours per day on the internet), and it's working its
voodoo on me as well. Fortunately, however, we live in the city: there
are a few free wi-fi hotspots within walking distance of the house,
which makes life convenient. The only issue I have with the coffee shop
that I'm currrently posting this from is that---ahem---the coffee sucks.
It's horrible. Tastes more like the roasted carcass of Juan Valdez than
it does actual coffee. Blech. Not to mention, they roast their coffee
in the store. Mmmmmm. Yummmy. NOT!.
I used to work for a coffee company. There were reasons why we had an
actual roastery, operated by an actual roastmaster, and one of them
that was that we didn't want our customers to smell the fabu smell that
is burnt coffee beans. You'd think roasting coffee would smell good,
right? Brewing coffee smells good, right? Why should the actual
roasting process smell bad? Well, it does. The first reason is that
this place focuses on the French Roast---which as we all know is
designed to bring out the bean to its utmost charred and oily stage.
The second reason is that they have one roaster for all their coffee
and they're not cleaning it between batches of light roast and French Roast.
Hence you have the smell of burning coffee bean oil floating throughout
the shop because to roast your own coffee in the shop is quaint.
Gack. This doesn't smell good. I don't know what the hell they were
thinking when they decided that in-store roasting would be their sales
hook, but it wasn't smart
Anyway, beggars can't be choosers, right? Right. Anyway, while the
smell of roasting coffee is making me gag, and---of course---with this
being the Minneapolis Province of the People's Republic of Minnesota, I
can't smoke to my heart's content in here, there are still some perks
to this gig: one of them being having a good laugh at people trying to
parallel park. It's humorous. Do they not teach people how to do this
in Driver's Ed anymore? There is one spot right in front of my window:
prime coffee shop parking, if
you can maneuver your car into the spot. This spot has gone unoccupied
for about a half hour: three separate cars have tried to park in it,
and all three drivers have failed to back their cars into the spot,
which is actually about the length of a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado sedan. A
volvo wagon didn't crank her wheel hard enough and wound up about a
foot from the curb. Seeing her failure, she just pulled her car back
out in traffic and jammed around the block. Some Japanese SUV did the
same. And a itty bitty Nissan as well. It's pretty funny to see them
slam on the gas after one measly attempt to parallel park. You can tell
just by the way they slam on the gas that they just don't want to
bother with it; that it's too difficult and that they have better
things to spend their time on. Well, that's fine I guess. As long as
you can park in other places where you don't have to back into the
spot, but you live in---dare I say it?---a city, where parking is
scarce. If you can't parallel park by now, kids, you might as well just
start riding the bus. Ah, anyway, if you're in the neighborhood, stop
on by. I'm going to be here for a time, making my purchased coffee last
as long as I possibly can.

Posted by Kathy at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

According to CNN, Kerry has

According to CNN, Kerry has called President Bush and has conceded the
He will be giving his concession speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston
around 1pm EST. After which, President Bush will give his victory
Thank frickin' God!
UPDATE: Here's the link to the AP story

After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat
called Bush Wednesday to concede Ohio and the presidency, The
Associated Press learned. Kerry ended his quest, concluding one of the
most expensive and bitterly contested races on record, with a call to
the president shortly after 11 a.m. EST, according to two officials
familiar with the conversation.

I tip my hat to Kerry. Well done, sir, and you have proved yourself to
be a classy man. I will admit I was very afraid when I woke up this
morning and it still hadn't been decided that he would listen to the
same factions in his party that convinced Al Gore to bring us into
recount hell in 2000, Bush's massive electoral gains around the country
notwithstanding. I am very happy to see that Kerry will not throw the
country into recount hell on a misguided whim. Perhaps he might have
made a good president after all. I don't know, but he's got his
priorities in the right place on this one.
The thing that interests me is how the Democratic Party will regroup
after this stunning defeat. They lost the presidency and they made
absolutely no gains in the House or the Senate. I haven't paid
attention to the Gubernatorial races, so I have no idea if they made
gains there, but I would think it's obvious that the trend is shifting
right across the board. When are they going to realize this, and adjust
their message accordingly, or are they going to stick their heads in
the sand, play up to the moonbat section of the party, and completely
ignore the message that has been thrown through their window? In other
words, now that their message has been found faulty, will they readjust
their message or will they stick with the cult of personality politics
they've been so fond of since Bill Clinton---trusting that if their
message is delivered by someone the majority of the country finds
palatable they'll succeed.
I don't know. It sounds like a losing strategy to me, but hey, that's
just me.

Posted by Kathy at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Posted by Kathy at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The other day when Suha

The other day when Suha Arafat freaked out on Al-Jazeera, I was
wondering what she was playing at. Turns out, she was looking out for
number one: namely, herself. According to DEBKA:

Tuesday, November 11, Suha Arafat‚€™s French lawyers and former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), struck a deal. It fixed the Palestinian Authority‚€™s financial obligations to Yasser Arafat‚€™s widow and let him finally die unambiguously and in peace at the end of a morbid tug of war between his wife and Palestinian Authority leaders. But this did not happen immediately. The confusion surrounding Arafat‚€™s condition for eleven days ‚€“ officially alive, unofficially dead ‚€“ was to be sustained a little longer ‚€“ mainly to save Mrs Arafat‚€™s face. The settlement allowed a funeral to be arranged on ‚€œOrphan Friday‚€ of Ramadan, November 12 (as DEBKAfile reported earlier) ‚€“ unless a new crisis pops up. Our sources have seen some of the principle terms of the Palestinian accord with Suha Arafat. {...} Last July, Arafat sent his wife $11 million to cover her living expenses and those of their daughter for six months - $1.8 million per month. The new accord guarantees her the same allowance from the Palestinian Authority as a regular annual remittance, i.e. $22 million per annum, for the rest of her life. Abu Mazen and prime minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) signed on the dotted line, although they have no notion how the penniless Palestinian Authority faced with a people in dire poverty can possibly stump up this kind of money.
In other words, Yassir wasn't going to be allowed "to die" until Sufa got hers. And the Palestinian Authority will be footing her bill until she cacks. Yet, I think there's a little more to it. We get Forbes here at the house and I remembered seeing Yassir on one of those lists that they so enjoy publishing. According to Forbes:
Yassir Arafat, President Palestinian Authority Net Worth: $200 million Skillfully deflected attempts by the U.S. and Israel to diminish his power in the Palestinian territories. His access to funding has been curtailed by Salam Fayyad, the PA's reform-minded finance minister. Arafat's office still enjoys a $74 million yearly budget--6% of the PA's annual budget--but funds are closely monitored. This after the International Monetary Fund estimated that $900 million had been siphoned out of the PA from 1995 through 2000, much still unaccounted for. Wife Suha reportedly under investigation by French authorities regarding $11 million transferred to her bank account from an unnamed Swiss institution.
So, my question would be, if Yassir's supposedly worth at least$200M, why isn't his wife being paid off out of that money, instead of having the PA foot the bill? I realize that amount would only keep her in her extraordinary lifestyle for ten years or so, but still...$200M isn't exactly chump change. Especially not with interest tacked on. Now, it's important to keep in mind that $200M is only what Forbes thinks Yassir's worth: they don't know for sure. All of their numbers are, generally speaking, best guesses, (yes, and that even includes how much they claim Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are worth, too) and often Forbes gets them wrong. They didn't mention the missing $900M that was siphoned off from the PA for shits and giggles, either. I would hazard a guess that they think Yassir's got the loot stashed away, but they can't prove it. Neither is it insignificant that they mention Sufa was/is being investigated by the French for receiving a large chunk of change from an account in Switzerland. Hmmmm. What does this add up to? Well, I'm not sure, but it does bring up some interesting questions, doesn't it? It also makes her "Yassir's ALIVE!" fit seem like, well, a diversionary tactic. I don't know and it's important to mention that this is all speculation on my part, but I would like to know how much did Sufa know about the missing $900M and if she parlayed that into $22M a year for the rest of her life. It might be unlikely that Sufa, a woman living in Paris, far from Ramallah, would have any information or doings with the management of that money, particularly given how Islamic women are treated most of the time, but it does make some sense, in a limited sort of way. Someone was needed to look after all those accounts, and that someone needed to be placed on the continent, for easy access. Swiss banking rules have tightened up over the years, and while it's still possible to transfer ungodly amounts of money via a phone call or a fax, you still need someone there to look after regulatory issues, like keeping the bank manager happy. Also, if she's receiving wire transfers from Switzerland, into her personal account, well, that might be an opening into learning about how much she knows. How many other transfers did she receive that the French government doesn't know about? The only way that having the PA foot the bill for her extravagant lifestyle, when they could have easily told her to piss up a rope given what the world knows about Yassir's net worth, makes any sort of sense is that she held out the return of all that loot as incentive for them to play her game. I don't know. My mind could be running away with me, but I still think there's more to it than just keeping Yassir "alive." That's not a big enough trump card to play, in my humble estimation, to get the PA to cough up all that loot. That all this is going on while Palestinians suffer should be unbelievable. Unfortuately, given Yassir's actions in the past, it's not. Apparently he taught his wife a few tricks on how to play the game. {hat tip: Fausta. See also: Roger Simon}

UPDATE: 11/01/2004 Steve-o suggests that they can get Stifler's mom to play her in the movie.

Although, if she offers you scotch, I would recommend running the other way.

Posted by Kathy at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I know everyone's going to

I know everyone's going to link this article, but damn, I cannot help myself. I just flat-out love the way Peggy Noonan writes.

Who was the biggest loser of the 2004 election? It is easy
to say Mr. Kerry: he was a poor candidate with a poor campaign. But I
do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM,
the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the
big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a
bit of pro-liberal mischief--CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard
documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS's "60 Minutes"
attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before
the election--the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the
Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in
the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen
of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology
and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day,
when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to
get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of
all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will
be part of the saving of our country.

While I don't believe a word of it, or, at best, think it's a wee bit
exaggerated, I've never been more flattered to be a blogger. And, of
course, I'm currently writing this, a steaming cup of coffee resting
beside the my pajamas.

Posted by Kathy at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did you see that Iowa

Did you see that Iowa State beat Nebraska on Saturday?


enough, this win puts them at the top of the Big 12 North. Hmmmph.
Not to diss the boys in Ames, but the Big 12 North must really suck
this year if that's the case.

Posted by Kathy at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"In time of war, if

"In time of war, if you go through a bad neighborhood, I don't want a little French poodle, I want a rottweiler on my hands."

--- Gene Simmons, on why he voted for Bush, rather than Kerry.

God, I love it when he opens that oversized mouth of his.

Posted by Kathy at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

To: The Washington Post From:

To: The Washington Post
From: Me
Re: Arafat's Death

I hate to tell y'all this, but Arafat was a Muslim, hence he can't ever go up for canonization. I'm no imam, but I'm pretty sure they don't have saints in Islam.

Which means, on the whole, you might want to leave off with publishing sentences like,

For virtually his entire adult life, Yasser Arafat had one dream, and he pursued it with such energy and zeal -- some would say fanaticism -- that he came to personify the dream itself.
Or this
By dint of ruthless violence often directed at civilians, artful manipulation and the sheer theatrical force of his personality, he managed almost single-handedly to elevate the grievances of a few million disenfranchised Palestinians to a prominent place on the world's political agenda.
Or this
He was reviled by many Israelis, who saw in him a modern-day Hitler, revered by many Arabs, who loved him for restoring their shattered sense of honor, and lionized by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded him the Peace Prize in 1994.
Or this
His trademark black-and-white checkered kaffiyeh headdress, folded and draped meticulously to describe the shape of Palestine, became a sartorial symbol not only for the Palestinian cause but for Third World revolutions in the Cold War era. The fascination with his persona was so great that dozens of Western interlocutors felt compelled to ask him why he kept his scruffy salt-and-pepper beard (he liked it) and why he didn't marry (he finally did, at 61).
Or this
Still, few doubted his knack for survival, the product of astonishing talent, luck or intuition.
Or this
He was a born activist, obsessed with Arab politics and the fate of Palestine by the time he was a teenager, and he was endowed with a knack for ingratiating himself with his peers and leading them. While a college student, he plunged further into the cause, and before he was 19, he was helping to buy and ship arms to Arabs in Palestine in the twilight of the British Mandate.
Or this
He seemed an odd choice to lead them; his family lived in Cairo, and unlike the men he commanded, he had not been driven from his home by Zionists. Yet none was as dedicated as Arafat. He neither smoked nor drank, cared little for restaurants or European travel, had no family and made little time for women. The Palestinian cause was his life.
I could go on, but I think you get the gist. The reverential tones you have employed for the obituary of a terrorist are entirely unpalatable and would be making me gag, provided I'd eaten breakfast this morning.I haven't yet.But after reading that piece of crap, I don't believe I will be for fear of losing it.
Posted by Kathy at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Most of the networks have

Most of the networks have called MN for Kerry.
Ummm, the husband begs to differ.
And I quote:
As of 12:47 am CST on this site,
there are 2,265,433 voters reported, and so far 76% of the precincts
have reported. That leaves approximately 543,000 votes left to report.
The margin for Kerry at this time is 91,381 votes. If the remaining
votes split 60/40 for Bush, the totals would be: Bush - 1,366,221 and
Kerry - 1,348,862. Judging by the other results of the outlying MN
counties, a 60/40 split in favor of Bush is very likely.

UPDATE: I don't think it's going anywhere, and I'm going to bed because I'm freaking tired.

The networks are pussies. They could have called Iowa an hour ago.


Also, Teddy Kennedy is an asshole.

Posted by Kathy at 01:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This woman needs to stop

This woman needs to stop driving in circles.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has sued the United States because its economic embargo on Iran is blocking publication of her memoirs in America, a literary agency said on Wednesday. Iranian human rights lawyer Ebadi said she wanted to write a book for a U.S. and international audience about her life and career "as a woman, a mother and a lawyer living and working in a country that confronts many human rights problems." The suit filed by Ebadi and the Strothman Agency seeks to strike down U.S. Treasury Department regulations requiring a license to publish authors from embargoed countries such as Iran -- a nation dubbed in 2002 as part of the "axis of evil" by President Bush along with Iraq and North Korea. "The ... regulations seem to defy the values the United States promotes throughout the world, which always include free expression and the free exchange of ideas," Ebadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, said in a filing to the court. She has completed a draft of the book in Farsi but needs the help of an agent and editor in America to translate and re-write the book for international readers, she said. But Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) rules are blocking her from signing a contract with the Boston-based Strothman Agency, which wants to represent her and negotiate with publishers on her behalf.
Somehow, this woman who apparently is intelligent enough to win the frickin' Peace Prize , yet isn't smart enough to realize that Shari'a isn't ever going to allow her to publish her seminal work...ever. Yet, somehow, she believes she's entitled to publish her work here, even though there's a law against doing just that, because Iran is a repressive country that sponsors terrorism worldwide and the United States has said we shouldn't do business with them. Hmmmm. To be clear about it, Ebadi, has gone on record claiming that Shari'a---particularly the Iranian version of it---is a valid form of law. Even though she was a judge and the mullahs don't think she's qualified to be one anymore because she's a woman. Even though the people she defends have generally been shafted one way or another by the government because they've run afoul of Islamic law. She still thinks this system works; she's just advocating her clients and perhaps striking a blow here or there. Ahem. Bitch, if you want to publish your work here, move here. Only then you will be entitled to conduct commerce on our shores. If you want to publish your work in Iran, well then maybe you should stop supporting repressive legal systems and work toward a free society. One, in particular, that respects women and treats them as equals. I, for one, don't want to read a book about a "{..}a woman, a mother and a lawyer living and working in a country that confronts many human rights problems." And I really don't want to read a book written by a woman who supports a country she claims "confronts human rights problems" when it's obvious even to Stevie Wonder that Iran is all about doing precisely the opposite. To quote John McClane: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Stop being part of the problem.
Posted by Kathy at 01:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

(Ha Ha. Get it?) Lileks:

(Ha Ha. Get it?)


{...}What matters is the quality of coffee. I don‚€™t like Caribou Coffee very much; it has a burnt and oily quality that reminds me of . . . well, Starbucks. But at least Caribou isn‚€™t trying to sell me a Lifestyle, and Starbucks always tries to flatter me with CDs and bookstore tie-ins and pretentious backstories for the various blends. {...}

Oh, please. He's getting it all wrong.

First off, Caribou is trying to sell you a lifestyle.
I know. I used to sell the lifestyle. Perhaps you hadn't noticed, but
they do have CD's for sale. They've also got neato travel mugs, too.
And little stuffed Caribous. They've even got a drink called The Campfire Mocha
which, as Mr. H. made me taste the other day, is a combination of
chocoate, coffee and marshmallow flavoring, designed to make you
remember the smores you concocted over the campfire when you were a wee
cub scout. The one organic blend they have is Rainforest---which I will
fully admit is garbage---but the minute you mention "organic" people
are all over it like white on an albino. They're trying to sell you the
Caribou lifestyle, which is something like "stop by the Bou on
your way up to the North Woods! We won't care if you're decked out in a
thousand dollars worth of Patagonia fleece and look absolutely
ridiculous, we don't care!" Second, of course, there are also
pretentious backstories for the coffee. You just won't get the story
unless you sidle up to the counter to buy a pound of beans, or the
employee behind the counter has time to blow. The La Minita Peaberry, for example, is a special kind of coffee, or so I told my customers. It's
exclusive to Caribou. A peaberry is a rare coffee bean, only one out of
every twenty beans that are picked are peaberries: they look like a
little football and have a denser flavor to them. La Minita is our
plantation in Costa Rica, and we purchase all of the peaberry. No one
else has it, and we only have it for a limited time. Oh, well, it is
expensive, but I can tell you because it's what I keep on hand at
home---when I'm able to get it---that you won't run through it as
quickly as you would a normal coffee bean. Because of its denseness you
get more ground coffee from one peaberry than you'll get from ...
think you get the picture: part bargain (which, to this day, I will
stand by because it's true), part yuppy buying incentive because of the
exclusiveness, and part romantic ideal that this is coming to them
straight from the mountains of Costa Rica. He misses all that, but then
when it's time to get down to brass tacks, he says the coffee "{...}it
has a burnt and oily quality that reminds me of . . . well, Starbucks."
Oh, my. Where to start?
1. While Caribou is more than pretentious in many aspects, what they
are not pretentious about is how they care for their beans. They do
care. While it sounds pretentious in itself, Carbiou tailors the roast
of the beans to the natural flavor of the varietals (i.e. Costa Rica,
Kenya, Ethiopia) and blends (Daybreak, French Roast, Espresso). In
other words, since Kenya has a lot of flavor naturally, you wouldn't
want to lose that flavor by burning
it. Conversely, the beans that comprised the French Roast blend were
ones that were best served by being roasted in the flames of hell for a
long period of time. I explained this to, literally, thousands of
customers over the three years I worked for Caribou, and you wouldn't
believe how many of them simply refused to believe that Caribou's Kenya
is what Kenya should taste like. The story would go something like
this: I had a great Kenyan AA at (insert some random store name
here)in (insert random city name here) and it was the best thing I ever
had. That's what Kenya should taste like. It tasted nothing like your version.

Taste is a peculiar thing; when you're commodotizing something that's
already been commodotized a thousand times over, by a thousand
different people, you're never going to win.
I have no idea what kind of coffee Lileks has set in his mind as the
coffee standard, but Caribou's coffees, unless you're specifically
drinking the dark roasts, aren't going to taste burnt. They just don't.
2. I never thought Lileks would fall prey to an urban myth, but he has.
Contrary to what Melita tells you when it sells its filters---ahem---there is supposed to be oil in the coffee when it is brewed because that's where the flavor comes from. Like, duh.
There should be an oily residue on your tongue when you take a sip
because, again, that's where the flavor comes from. This is a texture
issue not one of taste. There's a difference. A cup of brewed coffee
without oil on the top is sludge. I can't tell you how many people I've
had to disabuse of this stupid myth over years of selling coffee. If
you want coffee without oil swirling around the top, well, start
drinking Folgers brewed through a filter thicker than your average
dishcloth. 3. When I worked for the Bou, the worst thing anyone could
ever say to us was that our coffee tasted like Starbucks. Not only did
we have to deal with people coming in and ordering a "Vente
Frappacino," we were being held to the standards of a chain that
honestly couldn't have given a rat's ass about its coffee. It was an
uphill slog and it still is for the people who work at Caribou. I still
won't spend money at Starbucks. I refuse to. There was a reason why we
gave them the nickname "Charbucks." They roast the hell out of their
beans, (because, cough, cough, they buy cheapo wholesale beans!) and
all that fabulous flavor that's naturally imbued into the bean is lost
because they're tailoring their product toward a customer who sincerely
believes that the darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content.
(Another myth: the lighter roasts on Caribou's scale,
like Kenya have a higher caffeine content.) I would recommend that
Lileks try the lighter roasts, like Daybreak or even the LaMinita if
the store has it brewed that day. That's what coffee is
supposed to taste like. Honestly, some days it was like being a
sommelier at a five star restaurant and having to convince people that
no, Night Train is not what wine is supposed to taste like.

I totally realize this throws me completely into the geek department, but I don't go off and critique Star Trek
episodes, do I? Nope. I don't. I don't touch them with a ten foot
cattle prod. Mainly because you couldn't pay me to, but also because I
don't know anything about it. I do, however, know a lot about Caribou
and I honestly believed in the product when I was selling it for a
living, and I still believe in it because that's where all my coffee
comes from when we can afford it. They put out a good product. If
you're looking for me to slag off on them, well bring up their
management compensation/promotion plan and I'll go to town!

Posted by Kathy at 01:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, sometime this week is

So, sometime this week is my birthday. My brother, Tim, sent me a card,
like he usually does. Accompanying the card was a CD of pics from his
recent trip to Kauai. Bastard. Does he send me a present? Nope. Does he
send me a gift certificate for a facial? Nope. Does he send me cash?
Nope. He sends me none of these things. Instead, for my
birthday he chooses to send me pictures of his and his wife's 15th
anniversary trip to Hawaii. And this after I downloaded a batch of
music and fried a CD for him, especially for his trip. So, you know,
he'd have something to listen to on the long flight over. Since I have
nothing better to do, I thought I'd share with you all. Because I'm
generous like that. Unlike my brother*.
*And Timmy, should you be making one of your infrequent
stops here, realize that this is a JOKE and that I really do like the
pictures very much. But you still could have forked out for a facial.

Of course, should you be of the opinion that bigger really is better, click on the photo for, er, enlargement.

That's Darlene, Tim's Wife. She's totally innocent in all of this.

I could spend a few hours there. Wouldn't hurt me at all.

Apparently, they took a cruise around the island.

More hot boat action.

Kauai is beautiful. Who knew?

Check out the whale!

Smooooke on the mountain....

Of course, you must have a little romantic sunset action. It is their 15th wedding anniversary, after all.

of which, today is their anniversary. So....
Happy Anniversary, Tim and Dar!

Posted by Kathy at 12:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack